British Prime Minister David Cameron, left, walks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang past the British flag as they arrive for a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. (AP)
British Prime Minister David Cameron promoted business relations with China on a visit to the Asian economic giant Monday after Beijing derailed an earlier visit in retaliation for his meeting with the Dalai Lama.
Cameron was leading a trade mission with six government ministers as well as representatives from business, universities and the health care sector on a three-day visit that started Monday.
Cameron was expected to voice support for a deal to free up trade between China and the European Union, China's largest trading partner. Such a deal could be worth up to 1.8 billion British pounds ($2.95 billion) a year to the British economy, according to the U.K. government.
Economic exchanges with Britain were held up after Cameron met last year with the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader, whom China reviles as a separatist. Those exchanges were restored only in October following London's assurances that Cameron had no further plans to meet the 78-year-old cleric.
Cameron met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday and oversaw the signing of 10 agreements that included a treaty on legal assistance in criminal matters, a memorandum of understanding on enhancing bilateral investment and a joint agreement on China's gas development strategy.
Cameron told Li the delegation was interested in building trade relations.
"We particularly want to explore all the opportunities of economic openness, openness of Britain to Chinese investment, which we've seen huge amounts of in recent months and years, but also the opportunities for further opening our trade relations," Cameron said.