UK to Ink Trade Deals Worth Over £2.4bn with China
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne poses with China's Vice Premier Ma Kai outside 11 Downing Street in London.Reuters

Britain will sign commercial deals worth over £2.4bn with China as Chancellor George Osborne prepares to meet the country's Vice Premier Ma Kai in London later today.

The deals will include a $1bn (£616m, €774m) Malaysian oil terminal joint venture and a £200m project to develop nursing homes and vocational training schools China.

Britain will also refund visa costs for up to 25,000 Chinese visitors on organised tours between 2015 and 2017, Reuters reported.

Osborne is due to meet Ma at the sixth annual UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue.

Earlier, the Bank of England permitted the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to open a wholesale branch in the UK. A wholesale banking licence allows ICBC, China's largest lender, to handle investments and assets only. It cannot offer retail services, such as savings and loans.

Britain has been eager to attract Chinese banks and offshore trade in the yuan, to boost London's position in global forex trade.

Osborne has also said he wants to see London explore connections with Chinese stock exchanges, and in June declared that Britain will provide guarantees for transactions denominated in the renminbi.

In March, the UK and China sealed an agreement to set up a clearing service for renminbi trading in London, which is competing with Luxembourg, Frankfurt, Paris and New York to become the top Western offshore hub for trading in the Chinese currency.

In 2013, China was Britain's seventh largest goods export market, accounting for £12.4bn of exports - roughly 4% of the total. Britain imported £33.4bn of goods from China last year.

The Conservative-led government has made efforts to boost exports to China since 2010 in the wake of sluggish growth in many of Britain's chief export markets in continental Europe.