Minister leads mission to boost trade with China

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN will try to build on the 90 per cent growth in its exports to China with this week's high-level trade mission to the Far East, one of the most promising export markets for British goods.

Richard Needham, the trade minister, today leads a group of businessmen to China, Taiwan and Hong Kong but will make increased trade with China, the world's fastest-growing economy, the main objective.

The mission will visit key economic development areas such as Suzhou, near the coast in South-east China, and Wuhan, a gateway to the interior west of Shanghai, to hold meetings with provincial and industrial leaders. Talks with government officials will be held in Shanghai.

Companies represented on the Chinese visit include Trafalgar House, Barclays de Zoete Wedd, Babcock International, Amec, Powerscreen International and Littlewoods. British exports to China rose 33.5 per cent to pounds 430m in 1992. But, following the sharp depreciation of the pound in September 1992, in the first eight months of 1993 they shot up by 90 per cent to pounds 471m.

Exports to Taiwan jumped by 20 per cent in the same period while goods shipped to Hong Kong climbed by more than 30 per cent. The trade mission follows a government decision to provide an extra pounds 1.4bn in short-term export insurance, covering the rest of 1993, to support the growth in exports to the region in the wake of sterling's depreciation.

After talks in China the mission flies to Taiwan and then to a British design exhibition in Hong Kong.