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Chinese premier Wen Jiabao in trade talks at No 10

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao in trade talks at No 10

David Cameron is holding talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Downing Street focused on boosting trade links.

British firms hope to sign deals worth more than £1bn during Premier Wen's three day UK visit and get more access for exports across China.

But the UK PM is expected to stress that respect for human rights under the rule of law is an essential pre-requisite for increased UK investment.

Wen Jiabao faced a small protest during a visit to the MG car plant on Sunday.

The UK government was said to have been encouraged by the recent release from custody of artist Ai Wei Wei and other dissidents but wanted the Chinese authorities to do more to allow freedom of expression.

Trade gap

During the talks, the two leaders are expected to sign an agreement to help UK companies get greater access to Chinese markets in architecture, civil engineering and research and development.

In other areas, a ban on British poultry exports to China in place since a case of avian flu in 2007 is expected to be lifted while agreements will be signed to allow more pigs and pig meat to be sold to China.

The two men are also likely to discuss improving cultural and educational relationships between China and the UK - building upon the large number of Chinese students at British universities - and global issues such as international security and climate change.

No 10 is looking for a significant increase in two-way trade between the UK and China by 2015.

But the deals set to be announced on Monday will go only a very small way towards narrowing the huge trade gap with China.

British exports have increased by 20% since Mr Cameron led a major business delegation to Beijing last November and No 10 hopes to see an agreement to enable British business to branch out beyond Beijing and Shanghai into fast-growing regional cities.

Premier Wen told the BBC on Sunday that he wanted to make it easier for British firms to export goods to China.

Posted on Monday 27th June 2011

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