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U.K. Must Remove Barriers to Chinese Investment, Ambassador Says

Britain needs to remove barriers to investment from China and encourage Chinese companies to bid for major infrastructure projects such as high-speed rail, ambassador Liu Xiaoming said as he announced details of a visit by Premier Wen Jiabao to the U.K. between June 25 and 27.

Wen will attend the U.K. launch of the new MG6 Magnette car at the Longbridge, Birmingham, plant of Shanghai-based SAIC Motor Corp. Ltd during his visit, Liu said. The car, which is designed in the U.K., built in China and assembled at Longbridge, provides a model of how British and Chinese businesses can work together, Liu said.

“There’s a lot of talk about getting more Chinese investment but we need more action,” Liu told reporters in London today. “The visit by Premier Wen to the MG factory will symbolise Chinese commitment to expanding cooperation with the U.K.”

Liu said that when he worked in provincial government he went out of his way to encourage foreign companies to bid for projects, giving details of expected returns along with tax breaks and other incentives. Negative U.K. media coverage of Chinese investment, restrictions on visas and a lack of clarity on rules for inward investment are forcing Chinese companies to look elsewhere, he said.

“Chinese businesses will compare -- why should they invest in the U.K., not France, Germany or other economies?” Liu said. “We really need to identify flagship projects and high-speed rail might be one of them.”

China has “the knowledge, expertise and experience” to assist with the building of the high-speed line, which will link London to the Midlands and north of England, Liu said.

Wen will hold talks with Prime Minister David Cameron and make a “major speech” at the Royal Society in London as well as visiting MG, Liu said. The premier will also indulge his interest in William Shakespeare with a visit to the playwright’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon.

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