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The Queen hosts Chinese Premier at Windsor Castle

The Queen has met the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang this morning, only two months after a human rights row between China and the UK.

Mr Li and his wife traveled to Windsor Castle as part of their three-day official visit to the UK.

The Queen greets Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Mr Li is in Britain for the return leg of a trade boosting link-up begun by David Cameron last year.

He will meet the Prime Minister in Downing Street later today.

The Queen receives Chinese premier Li Keqiang and his wife Cheng Hong at Windsor Castle Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

But only two months ago, the two countries found themselves in a diplomatic row over human rights.

China was angered by a British Foreign Office document criticising its rights record and called off an official meeting in London at short notice.

Read: Chinese business bosses in UK to boost trade

BP lands multi-billion deal with China

BP will sign a deal worth around £11.8 billion ($20 billion) with China to supply its National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) with liquefied natural gas, Chief Executive Bob Dudley said.

"It is a 20-year supply agreement on LNG. It is a fair price for them and a fair price for us. It is a good bridge between the UK and China in terms of trade," Mr Dudley said.

Read: Chinese business bosses arrive in UK to boost trade


UK to secure £18 billion business deals with China

A team of Chinese business bosses, led by the country's Premier Li Keqiang, are in Britain for the return leg of a trade boosting link-up begun by David Cameron last year.

The three-day visit is expected to yield business deals worth over £18 billion total.

Here are some of the deals:

  • BP will sign a £5 billion deal to supply liquefied natural gas to China
  • £120 million deal to reopen UK lamb and beef meat exports to China
  • Nord Engine, a Chinese financial services group, will announce £150 million investment in UK and European small and medium tech businesses
  • China’s largest private sector investment group, China Minsheng Investment Corporation, will announce a new European HQ in London with an investment of around $1.5 billion
  • Royal Dutch Shell secured a new partnership with China's state-owned energy giant CNOOC

Read: Chinese business bosses arrive in UK to boost trade

Chinese business bosses arrive in UK to boost trade

A team of Chinese business bosses, led by the country's prime minister, have flown into Britain. They are here for the return leg of a trade boosting link-up begun by David Cameron last year.

ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills reports on size of the deals being done and China's growing stake in British business:

Read: China Premier in UK for business talks

China Premier Li Keqiang arrives in London for talks

The UK is overhauling its visa system to make it easier for Chinese tourists and businesses to visit the country, interior minister Theresa May said on Monday, marking the start of a visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Prime Minister David Cameron with Mr Keqiang. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Mr Li has arrived in London three-day official visit which includes an audience with Queen Elizabeth and is aimed at putting aside a recent history of political tension and building closer trade and commercial ties.

Government officials keen to tap into the spending power of tourists from China's expanding middle class and encourage businesses from the world's second-largest economy to deal with Britain.

The Home Office announced a streamlined application process for Chinese visitors and a service to grant them visas within 24 hours.

Read: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrives in London for talks

Chinese visitors to UK to be offered new visa service

All Chinese visitors to the UK will be offered a new streamlined visa service ensuring it is "easier than ever before" to see what the country has to offer.

A pilot scheme was launched last year for tour operators allowing them to work from a single form in processing UK visa applications, and the programme will now be extended to all visitors.

A new 24-hour visa service will also be launched to Chinese visitors in August, while 12 visa application centres are set to open across China in a bid to reduce waiting times for applicants.

"The number of Chinese people coming to Britain to visit and do business is soaring," Home Secretary Theresa May said.

"They already enjoy a first-rate visa service and these changes will ensure it is easier than ever before to visit the UK and see first-hand everything this great country has to offer."

Read: China visa changes 'good news for British business'


George Osborne plans 'to build 200,000 new homes'

George Osborne pictured tonight at Mansion House.
George Osborne pictured tonight at Mansion House. Credit: Reuters

The Chancellor George Osborne has tonight set out "radical" planning reforms designed to help build up to 200,000 new homes.

The controversial proposals, announced during his annual Mansion House speech, would see councils forced to pre-approve brownfield sites for housing developments.

Mr Osborne also said it was important that the Bank of England was able to act "independently of politics" and take action by itself with new legal powers, to help fix Britain's housing market.

These were expected to be in put place by the end of next May.

"I want to make sure that the Bank of England has all the weapons it needs to guard against risks in the housing market," the Chancellor said.

"I want to protect those who own homes, protect those who aspire to own a home, and protect the millions who suffer when boom turns to bust."

Ed Balls responds to Chancellor's mortgage plans

Labour's shadow chancellor Ed Balls said:

George Osborne is still failing to tackle the root cause of the housing crisis which is that we are not building enough homes to match rising demand.

Over the last few years Labour has repeatedly called for action on housing supply, but the Chancellor has failed to act.

Under this government housebuilding has reached the lowest peacetime levels since the 1920s.

You can't deal with the cost-of-living crisis and create a strong and balanced recovery without building more homes.

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