Key industry figures have joined prime minister Tony Blair on a charm offensive to China in a bid to promote British business links with the country.

Engineers Arup, Scott Wilson, Halcrow and Mott MacDonald are among the firms represented in Blair’s 40-strong delegation, which is seeking to promote trade links with China in the wake of the “bra wars” dispute over trade between the China and Europe.

Lord Foster joined the trip as part of a cultural delegation. He delivered a masterclass on architecture and planning to young architects and students in Beijing.

The industry representation is part of a summit between the European Union, China and India, which is intended to build relations between these nations and the EU.

A spokesperson for Downing Street said that the business delegation was aimed to promote the involvement of British and European firms in the countries. He said: “Both China and India are key trade and industry partners for the EU and the UK. The delegation is there to promote this trade and industry.”