Ministers signal they’re ready to kowtow to Beijing in bid to lure car makers from China

Investment: Britain is trying to entice Chinese car makers to set up a global base in the UK 

Britain is trying to entice Chinese car makers to set up a global base in the UK in a sign that the government is ready to open up to Beijing despite security fears.

Investment minister Lord Johnson said the country could capitalise on Brexit freedoms to sell Chinese firms’ electric cars to the rest of the world.

‘China have a very powerful electric car industry, they’ve got a lot of excellent technology and they’re making great cars,’ he said.

‘I’d much rather they make great cars in the UK that we could then capitalise on and generate wealth from, using our new post-Brexit trading agreements, than they made them in China and imported them in.’

The remarks came at a global conference that brought together some of the biggest names in international finance, and where the Government announced £29.5billion in foreign investments into Britain.

Speaking at the summit, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended an attitude of continued caution towards Beijing, saying the situation ‘has changed’ since new foreign Secretary Lord Cameron was prime minister.

But the PM also spoke of wanting to ‘reorientate’ towards the Middle East and Asia.

And Johnson’s comments about China’s car makers added to that warmer sentiment.

China is a leading maker of electric cars, with leading brands such as BYD, and Johnson said it was also helping Britain to achieve net zero goals through investments in offshore wind.