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China will be construction's biggest customer

News

SIGNING OF the US-China trade deal on Tuesday is another significant step to China becoming the world's largest construction market.

The deal, which involves removing trade barriers in areas such telecommunications, is expected be followed by a similar one between China and the European Union. The UK is the biggest European investor in the People's Republic.

China is now set to join the World Trade Organisation, which, it is hoped, will quicken the pace of economic reforms.

Senior China observers told NCE that they expected this week's removal of trade barriers to have significant effects for construction. They suggested UK construction firms would find work as China is increasingly using Western client firms and is keen to raise its infrastructure quality.

But Mott MacDonald chairman Tim Thirlwall warned that UK firms could not expect to swan in and pick up work. He said overseas construction firms would have to offer 'high added value' services, whether consultancy or management contracting. China British Business Council www.cbbc.org Hong Kong Trade Development Council www.tdc.org.hk/main/china.htm World Trade Organisation www.wto.org/statis/ee.htm

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