Monday 13 February 2017 3:13 pm

London's lord mayor is the latest to lead a trade mission to China

The City of London's lord mayor, Andrew Parmley, will follow closely in the footsteps of government ministers by leading a trade delegation to China later this month.

Foreign office minister Alok Sharma began a four-day trip leading a delegation of life sciences firms earlier this week as the government seeks to boost ties with China, and Parmley will follow suit by jetting eastwards on Thursday.

Over 10 days the lord mayor will visit Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, meeting business leaders and policy makers.

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Parmley's predecessor made a similar trip last year. Speaking ahead of his visit, Parmley said: “It is no secret our relationship with China is more important than ever as we negotiate our departure from the European Union, but I believe that opportunities to collaborate will continue to emerge, benefiting both our economies as well as driving wider global growth.”

Despite fears of a "general prejudice" against Chinese investment in British infrastructure, Prime Minister Theresa May has been keen to strengthen the UK's relationship with China: chancellor Philip Hammond also visited last year, and the UK hosted Chinese vice premier Ma Kai in November.

May is set to make her own trip to China later this year.