UK gov’t hails ‘golden era’ of trade with China as it eyes post-Brexit future

UK Chancellor, Philip Hammond, currently on a trade mission to China, says that more than a billion pounds of trade and investment will be agreed at the 9th UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue.

Hammond will hold talks with Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai, and in a statement, said that “both countries will reaffirm their commitment to developing a global partnership, establishing the next steps for a deeper trade and investment relationship as the UK builds an economy fit for the future”.

The Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD) is a two-day event, aimed at promoting the UK strengths in trade, financial services, infrastructure and energy.

Alongside Hammond as he looks to sell the UK to China will be Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, pictured left, and London Stock Exchange chief executive Nikhil Rathi.

Hammond said: “The UK is one of the world’s largest and most dynamic economies. We are committed to working with our partners to build a truly global Britain, and our relationship with China is strong, growing, and delivering benefits for both countries.

“As we move to a new phase in cooperation between our two great countries, we will be establishing an even deeper trade and investment relationship, helping British businesses and entrepreneurs to seize the opportunities now in front of us as we build an economy fit for the future.

In a statement, the UK government said that the EFD will “build on progress made through previous dialogues, which has included supporting the development of London as the leading offshore RMB trading hub, and Chinese participation and investment in the UK’s civil nuclear sector”.

It outlined four areas where it expects to be able to announce deals, namely:

  • delivering on commitments to create a deeper financial services relationship and expand cooperation to innovative new areas
  • creating new partnerships on industrial strategy and economic reform to support innovation, growth and employment
  • next steps on how the UK and London, as a global financial and services centre, can partner on the Belt & Road Initiative
  • deepen expertise-sharing and cooperation on economic reform issues

Business and energy secretary, Greg Clark added that China is “one of our largest trading partners”.

Clark said: “As two of the world’s leading economies it is vital that we work closely together to address global challenges and seize the future economic opportunities.

International research collaboration and clean growth are at the heart of our Industrial Strategy, and I will be further advancing co-operation between the UK and China on offshore technologies, where the UK leads the world, and renewable energy projects, while reaffirming our joint commitment to work together on clean energy research.”

Leading pro-Brexit voice and international trade secretary Dr Liam Fox said: “Britain is a key partner for Chinese trade and investment, and is one of China’s most important trading partners in Europe.

“The growth in bilateral trade and investment – from autonomous pods providing transport solutions, to top quality schools – has seen Britain working with Chinese businesses to secure a share of one of the most vibrant markets in the world.

“As an international economic department, DIT are supporting further bilateral opportunities through the UK-China Economic Financial Dialogue to build on the £16.8 billion of goods and services we already export to China.”

Eugene Costello
Eugene Costello has been a journalist for some 20 years, and has written for a wide variety of UK and international newspapers and magazines.

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