Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron has taken 120 delegates to China in a bid to seal a lucrative trade deal for the UK, as well as to push for more negotiations between the European Union and the Asian economic powerhouse to unlock trading between the two.
The UK government sees China as a vital trade partner if it is to meet its own £1tn (€1.21tn, $1.64tn) target value for exports by the end of the decade, as it seeks to rebalance the economy away from debt-drive consumption. The value of UK exports to China hit a £1bn monthly average for the first time ever at the beginning of 2013.
Officials from the two nations have already signed a landmark currency deal that allows the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to issue a renminbi bond in London, a move cementing the UK's status as a western hub for strictly-controlled renminbi trading.
"Put simply, there is no country in the western world more open to Chinese investment, more able to meet the demands of Chinese consumers, or more willing to make the case for economic openness in the G8, the G20 and the European Union," said Cameron in the Chinese magazine Caixin.
"And there is no country more ready to forge a dialogue of mutual respect and understanding that can address issues of concern and advance our shared interests in the world."
Cameron also said that the latest trade trip is aimed at building on the current EU-China negotiations on investment and China's planned economic reforms, such as stripping away red tape around foreign direct investment.
"I now want to set a new long-term goal of an ambitious and comprehensive EU-China free trade agreement," he said.
"And as I have on the EU-US deal, I will put my full political weight behind such a deal which could be worth tens of billions of dollars every year."
Cameron is due to attend the official opening of a new academy in Beijing for training technicians, salesmen and service staff for Jaguar Land Rover, which is signing a £4.5bn agreement to provide 100,000 cars to the National Sales Company over the next year.
He will also hold talks with Premier Li Keqiang on a separate China-UK deal said to be worth £1.8bn a year.
Business delegates accompanying the prime minister include chief executives from British Petroleum, Standard Chartered and Rolls Royce among others.
There are also many delegates representing smaller businesses, including Westaway Sausages of Devon, Moulton bicycles and the Cambridge Satchel Company.
The trade delegation is understood to be something of an appeasement to China after diplomatic relations were strained when Cameron met the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader.
China has annexed Tibet and there are regular clashes between Tibetans who want independence and the Chinese authorities.
This trip was meant to take place in April, but was cancelled over the meeting, which China's UK ambassador said had "seriously interfered with China's internal affairs".