London, Jan 10 (Coal Geology) Britain and China Monday signed trade deals worth an estimated 2.6 million pounds ($4 million), ranging from the supply of green technology to the delivery of luxury Jaguar Land Rover cars.
Among the trade deals is a commitment by Jaguar Land Rover, the luxury carmaker owned by India’s Tata Group, to sell 40,000 Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles in China in 2011.
The commitment to sales with a value in excess of one billion pounds reflected the growing importance of the Chinese market to Jaguar Land Rover, said Ralf Speth, chief executive of the car company.
The agreements were sealed on the second day of an official visit to Britain by Chinese Vice Premier Li Kequiang, who is widely considered to be a possible successor to Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.
Britain, where Li held talks with Prime Minister David Cameron and other leaders Monday, is the third stop for Li on his current European tour, which also took him to Germany and Spain.
Ahead of the political talks, the two governments signed a deal on the transfer of two giant pandas from China to Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland, in what both sides hailed as a sign of the growing friendship between the two countries.
Other deals included an agreement between BP and the China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) on deep-water exploration in the South China Sea, and trading partnership agreements between privately-owned chemical firm Ineos with PetroChina and the China National Petroleum Corporation on refining operations and technology.
On his arrival for a four-day visit Sunday, Li signed an agreement on the supply of renewable energy conversion technology in Edinburgh, worth around 4.6 million pounds.
But although the deals signed in Britain on Monday were hailed as groundbreaking by politicians, their value and volume remained well behind agreements stuck by Li in Germany and Spain, commentators noted.
Britain, while keen to boost trade with China, is ninth on the list of major exporters to China, while China is the third-biggest supplier to the British market.
During a visit to China in November, Cameron secured business worth less than one billion pounds for British companies, of which the supply of 16 new Rolls Royce jet engines was the biggest item.
Experts said Britain would use the talks with Li to advertise its long-standing expertise in the area of financial services and in the development of low carbon solutions to combat climate change.
On Monday, Li also had talks with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and was due to meet George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He will also have talks with Foreign Secretary William Hague and address business leaders before returning to Beijing Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the two giant pandas, called Tian Tian and Yangguang, will make their transfer from China to Edinburgh Zoo, in Scotland, in the near future. They will be the first giant pandas to reside in Britain for 17 years.
Commenting on the deal over the pandas, which took five years to come to fruition, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said: ‘This news demonstrates the close ties we have with China and comes during the visit of the vice premier to Britain this week.’
China’s ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming said: ‘Pandas are a Chinese national treasure. This historical agreement is a gift to the people of Britain from China. It will represent an important symbol of our friendship and will bring our two peoples closer together.’