§ Mr. Caborn
The Government, through Trade Partners UK, recently announced for 2001–02 the largest programme of supported activity ever for British companies in the China market. This will consist of 17 trade missions, 30 trade fair groups and eight sector-specific seminar initiatives during the year. This increased activity is in addition to the regular exchanges of ministerial visits to and from China of which my own visit earlier this month and that of the Deputy Prime Minister last October formed part. The Minister for Small Business and E-Commerce visited China last month.
Our activity in China is complemented by awareness-raising activity in the UK. Trade Partners UK, in close co-operation with the China-Britain Business Council (our official trade advisory group on China), is engaged in a two-year programme of events around the country to draw the attention of UK companies to business opportunities in China. These events are held in close co-operation with local partners such as trade associations and chambers of commerce.
UK exports to China rose by 40 per cent. in 1999 over 1998 and by a further 22 per cent. in the first 11 months of 2000. 1 hope that the continued efforts I have described will improve on this performance still further.