Chinese President Xi Jinping will preside on Wednesday over the signing of a deal to help fund a new nuclear power station in Britain and discuss contracts worth $46 billion that Prime Minister David Cameron is keen to clinch.
After a day of pomp, Xi will get down to business at Cameron’s Downing Street residence and attend a meeting in London with chief executives of big British companies.
The highlight of that summit is expected to be an announcement that state-owned China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) will take a one-third stake in the planned 18 billion pound ($28 billion) Hinkley Point nuclear plant owned by France’s EDF.
“A growing China-UK relationship benefits both countries and the world as a whole,” Xi told a state banquet at Buckingham Palace hosted by Queen Elizabeth on Tuesday night.
Escorted by Prince William, the queen’s grandson, Xi on Wednesday inspected a new battery-powered black taxi to be produced by London Taxi Company, which is owned by Chinese carmaker Geely [GEELY.UL].
Cameron is pitching Britain as the pre-eminent Western gateway for investment from China, though the warmth of the reception for Xi has raised some eyebrows with allies and drawn criticism that London is ignoring China’s human rights record.