Britain’s ex-PM David Cameron to lead US$1 billion initiative to improve transport links between China and trading partners

The fund will work on China’s multibillion pound Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to create an economic corridor linking with its trading partners to the west

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 December, 2017, 10:28am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 December, 2017, 10:28am

Britain’s former prime minister David Cameron has taken a job leading a billion-dollar investment initiative agreed between the UK and China.

Cameron, who played a key role in efforts to boost trade links with Beijing while he was in Downing Street, will take charge of the £750 million (US$999 million) fund to improve roads, ports and rail networks between China and the countries it trades with.

The fund will work on China’s multibillion pound Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to create an economic corridor linking with its trading partners to the west. President Xi Jinping pledged £96 billion this year to boost the project, which was first unveiled in 2013.

The chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced the fund and Cameron’s role during an official trade visit to China. It forms part of a series of commercial deals worth £1.4 billion.

The private fund is supported by the British government, but no taxpayers’ money will be involved. The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba), which considers positions taken up by former ministers, signed off on Cameron’s role.

A spokesman for the former prime minister said he was “very proud of his work launching the Golden Era between the UK and China with President Xi” and his efforts to strengthen bilateral trade and investment while in office.

“In an effort to build on that work out of office, he wishes to play a role in a new UK-China bilateral investment fund that will invest in innovative and sustainable growth opportunities in both the UK and China to create jobs and further boost trade links,” the spokesman said.

Hammond also announced other measures included accelerating the final preparations for the London-Shanghai “stock connect” initiatives, which will mean investors in each country will be able to trade shares listed on the other’s stock exchange.

Cameron’s role is not his first job since stepping down as an MP in September 2016. It was announced in October that he would take up a role with the US electronic payments firm First Data Corporation. He will work two or three days a month for the company.

He is also writing his memoirs and is understood to have signed a publishing deal worth about £800,000. He was appointed president of Alzheimer’s Research UK in January 2017 and became chairman of the National Citizen Service soon after resigning as MP.

His wife, Samantha, has set up a clothing design company, Cefinn, since leaving Downing Street.