Britain’s prime minister has arrived in Beijing to boost European efforts to settle a trade row with China.
Tony Blair and his wife Cherie flew in as talks between the two sides continued. A deal is still proving elusive. Failure would look bad for Britain which holds the rotating EU presidency. European Commission boss Jose Manuel Barroso says he is confident agreement will be reached. So far, however, Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson has not managed to secure the release of goods piled up in European ports and warehouses. They have been impounded by customs because quotas that Brussels agreed with Beijing in June have been filled. Shops have paid for their merchandise and are demanding its prompt release. Countries with large retail sectors such as Germany and the Nordic nations are particularly concerned.