How the UK and China investment deal could throw shade on the U.S.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and President of China Xi Jinping have become fast friends, while President Barack Obama—and the U.S.—are still wary of the world's second-largest economy.

While cyber attacks on U.S. companies perpatrated from within China have ruled the news, Britain is rolling out the red carpet—literally—for CHina's leader and for future investment and tarde within the UK.

Yesterday, President Jinping was warmly welcomed by Queen Elizabeth in Buckingham Palace, and reports now say that the visit will lead to around $46 billion worth of trade and investment deals.


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The British Embassy said the visit will also open export opportunities for UK companies looking to expand into China and attract Chinese investment into the regions.

While a bulk of the agreements could manifest themself in the energy sector, there are travel implications. The UK/China agreement will include a large cut in the cost of repeat-visit visas for Chinese tourists to the UK—which could attract even more high-spending visitors.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: "Global partnerships are essential in building a Britain that is stronger, more prosperous and full of opportunity. Deals like those announced today will ensure our economy remains resilient and our businesses feel well-equipped to face the future."

"My ambition is to see Britain as China’s biggest trade partner in Europe," said UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. "We want to be the most open economy in Europe to Chinese investment. It is very much in our national interest to engage with China."

As it relates to hospitality investment, agreements like this could open up the gates to more Chinese investment. Back in January, Katharine Le Quesne of Deloitte told FT: "Chinese investors approaching the UK or European hotel markets for the first time need to get to grips with a diverse marketplace, a competitive transaction environment and a large pool of highly experienced global investors."

According to a recent report from Savills World Research, in total, Chinese investment is predicted to account for 10 percent of global cross-broder hotel volumes by 2017, with the expectation that Chinese interest in UK hotels will pick up.

Still, the U.S. is also looking at it's own trade agreement with China. Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International, is very much a proponent of an investment treaty between China and the U.S., telling China Daily recently, "Let our people bring us closer together."

Sorenson cites a recent Marriott survey that found that the highest percentage of people who most want to visit the U.S. are the Chinese.

"I think that's a sign that even though our politics can be complicated at times, even though our government systems are obviously very different, there is a fascination that we have with each other that I think bodes very well for travel between the two countries," said Sorenson.

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