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[英伦广角] 【整理】2011-06-26 温总理英国行

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In the heart of Birmingham, amidst the concrete jungle, is a grand pagoda carved from Chinese stone. It's a gift from a family for ever grateful for the opportunities they found here.

“What does the pagoda symbolize to you?”

“Hum, so it brings a lot of the Chinese culture and displays that to the local people of Birmingham really.”

The Yips made their fortune in food, for then the arrival of the Chinese Premier in their hometown could bring further riches.

“I heard it's great endorsement of Birmingham. Hum, it shows that this is a lot of potential in Birmingham and I think he's also by doing that encouraging more investment into the city and also into the UK.”

Wen Jiabao leads the fastest growing economy in the world. The first stop on his UK visit, Birmingham's MG car plant, once home to Rover, now Shanghai Automotive. Optimists see opportunity that goes beyond this new astonish business.

“We have already told this, they need investment in infrastructure, in automotive technologies, financial services, town planning, those sort of things that I'm looking to buy from the world and the fact that he's chosen to come to Birmingham and the region shows that we've struck a chord.”  

Currently, China is the UK's second largest trading partner outside the EU. Last year, trade between the two countries was worth more than 31.16 billion pounds. Chine spend 10.8 billion on products and services made by UK firms. That's over 40% on the previous year.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this visit is the possibility of Chinese involvement in high speed two, the super fast rail link which will rejuvenate this old railway station in Birmingham and means that London is just 45 minutes away.

It's controversial on what the Chinese influence might be isn't yet clear. But it indicates a significant change. It was once Britain particularly Birmingham, that was the workshop of the world. Now global trade is dominated by three words, sharing in the huge profits they generate can go far beyond Beijing.

Lisa Dowd, Sky News, Birmingham.
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