Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday Britain could not have a "frank" discussion with China about issues such as human rights if it did not have a strong economic and trade relationship with the country.

At a joint news conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Cameron also said Beijing had plans to reduce the supply of cheap steel which has hurt Britain's struggling steel making industry.

The two countries have signed a number of deals including a multi-billion dollar agreement to finance nuclear power stations in Britain.