Friday, 18 January 2008

Gordon Brown in China: Is it all about the economics?

The Guardian today report on Gordon Brown's visit to China.

This is a trip that is all about economics and job creation. Human rights will again come to the surface as always but do not be mistaken, GB is in China to promote UK plc and will only play lup service to the human rights issue.

It is remarkable that GB is there to ask for Chinese investment in the UK after a decade of almost total one-way FDI from the UK to China. This shows how far China has come in such a short amount of time.

For more information on this turn around and why such investment may be BAD for the Chinese people you should read the $1.4 Trillion question.

What GB is asking for is for China to yet again put the Chinese people last.

Brown seeks to take China relationship to new level [Guardian]

BEIJING, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Gordon Brown told China on Friday he wanted Britain to be the number one choice for Chinese trade and investment as he sought to take the relationship to a "higher level".

Brown also brought up human rights and democracy in his talks in Beijing with leaders of the world's fastest-growing major economy before heading off to Shanghai on Saturday and India on Sunday.

"Britain will welcome substantial new investment from China in our country in the years to come," Brown told a news conference alongside Premier Wen Jiabao.
"We want Britain to be the number one destination of choice for Chinese business as it invests in the rest of the world."

The two leaders agreed to expand trade to a value of $60 billion by 2010, compared to about $40 billion last year, as they watched the signing of agreements on education cooperation, climate change, sustainable cities and clean-energy development.

"I believe by 2010 we will see 100 new Chinese companies investing in the UK, we will see 100 partnerships between our universities and Chinese universities and we will double the number of firms listed on the London Stock Exchange and thousands of jobs will be created," Brown said.

He added that he welcomed investment from Beijing's huge sovereign wealth fund.
"We are now able to sell to China not just financial and business services and environmental technologies, but also a whole range of British brands that are now becoming very popular among the rising number of Chinese consumers."

"We are moving our partnership with China to a higher level," Brown said.
Among executives travelling with him was entrepreneur Richard Branson, who said he planned "a number of businesses" in China including a clean-energy company.
"China is very interested in developing clean energy. I am seeing a number of potential staff while I am there for running the company," he said on the flight from London.

Wen greeted Brown at the Great Hall of the People, the iconic heart of Communist Party rule. Wen assured reporters China was committed to eventual introduction of democracy.

"China will remain committed to advancing democracy -- that is to say our people will gradually exercise greater democratic elections and participation in political affairs," he said.

Brown said that he had raised the issue of elections in Hong Kong, which Britain handed back to China in 1997.

"I welcomed his assurances that they will move to elections both for the chief executive and for the council in Hong Kong over the next period of time," he said.

HUMAN RIGHTS
While Britain is keen to promote trade, the two countries do not always see eye-to-eye on Iran, Myanmar or the conflict in Sudan's Darfur province. Brown said he would discuss human rights and democracy during his visit.

Human Rights Watch said in an open letter to Brown that he should use his visit to press Beijing on rights in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.

Western politicians and rights groups have accused China in the past of selling Sudan arms that end up in Darfur and of fending off stronger U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Wen said he and Brown agreed to press for a negotiated settlement on Darfur.
On Iran, Britain has supported its ally, the United States, in pressing for new sanctions against Tehran's nuclear activities, but China wants a negotiated solution.
Brown congratulated China on its successful bid to hold the Olympics and told students at People's University he would definitely come back to Beijing to attend if asked, at which point Wen promptly extended an invitation.


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1 comment:

Tejvan Pettinger said...

Chinese investment could help Chinese firms diversify. But, at the end of the day, China won't do anything against its own interests.