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Cameron to lead China fund

By Cecily Liu in London | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-19 07:17

Former British prime minister David Cameron. [Photo/China Daily]

Former British prime minister David Cameron has accepted a lead role with a newly proposed 750-million-pound ($1 billion) China-UK fund at a time when the United Kingdom is strengthening its relationship with China amid uncertainty around its pending exit from the European Union.

Announced on Saturday as one of 72 outcomes of the ninth China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue held in Beijing, the fund is being hailed as a new milestone in the "golden era" of China-UK relations that began in October 2015 when President Xi Jinping met Cameron during Xi's state visit to the UK.

Cameron will be the fund's vice-chairman, a role that allows him to "facilitate dialogue with the UK and Chinese governments ... at the invitation of the UK government", according to a statement from the UK government's advisory committee on business appointments, which regulates the new business roles of Britain's former politicians.

In allowing Cameron to accept the job, the organization waived its usual two-year ban on former ministers liaising with the government after leaving office.

The new fund is a private-sector initiative involving institutional investors from China and the UK and involves no taxpayer money.

According to a statement issued jointly by both governments, the new fund will "invest in innovative, sustainable and consumption-driven growth opportunities" in the UK, China, and other economies involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. The initiative seeks to increase international connectivity through infrastructure investment.

British politicians, including Cameron, have voiced strong support for the initiative, with a view to positioning London as a financing hub supporting Belt and Road investments.

Cameron resigned as prime minister in June 2016 in the wake of the referendum decision by UK voters to leave the EU. While Cameron was in office, several high-profile China-UK deals were struck, including China General Nuclear Corp's investment in the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

Cameron has kept a low profile since stepping down. In January, he became the new president of the charity Alzheimer's Research UK, after taking a private-sector job in October when he joined the board of US payments technology company First Data.

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