Race for gold starts as ministers use Games to bid for lucrative deals


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The Independent Online

Government ministers have been ordered to embark on an unprecedented charm offensive to use the London Olympics to win 50 specific multibillion-pound global investment projects for British firms.

A list of the deals around the world that British ministers and civil servants have been told to lobby for has been obtained by i.

Deals with cash-rich emerging nations such as Brazil and China feature prominently among the pet projects sought to help the stuttering UK economy. The wish list includes lucrative Chinese healthcare deals, the construction of Brazilian shipyards and Russian railways, deepwater drilling off the coast of Mexico and controversial oil exploration in Kazakhstan. Downing Street wants to secure at least £4bn of new deals during the Olympics. Key international business players and decision-makers from the countries involved have been given free VIP tickets to the best Olympic events and will be escorted on and off the park by ministers and MPs.

UK ministers have each been allocated specific target countries to try to close deals in the 50 projects. Many of the high-value deals are in the burgeoning economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China or in the Gulf. There are also reconstruction deals going in Libya and Iraq. British firms will need to compete against cheaper global rivals who are also vying for the deals.

The target list of 50 deals, drawn up by economists at the UK Trade and Investment arm of the Government, is dominated by construction, energy and infrastructure projects.

It includes decommissioning Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant; building hospitals in Kuwait; new airports in Saudi Arabia, Beijing and Hong Kong; laying railways in India, Taiwan and Singapore; and oil production in Brazil.