China looking at ’top notch’ free trade deal with UK after EU withdrawal

Britain has pushed a strong message to Chinese companies that it is fully open for business as it prepares to leave the EU next year, and China is one of the countries with which Britain would like to sign a post-Brexit free trade deal. Reuters reported

Posted by Times News on Sunday, 26th August 2018

In a statement released after Friday talks between Fox and Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan in Beijing, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said they had discussed how to boost two-way investment and expand trade in services.

The two countries also agreed to “actively explore the possibility of discussing a top notch free trade agreement between the two sides after Brexit”, the ministry added, without giving details.

While a trade pact with China would be a political win for Britain’s government, formal talks cannot begin until it officially leaves the EU. Free trade talks typically take many years to conclude.

Other areas Zhong and Fox talked about included legal services cooperation and making work visas easier, the ministry said.

Zhong added that he hoped Britain would use the opportunity of a major import fair in November in Shanghai, which President Xi Jinping is overseeing, to expand its exports to China, the statement added.

It cited Fox as saying he would be leading Britain’s delegation to the import fair, along with Prince Andrew, a senior member of Britain’s royal family.

Fox said on Tuesday that Britain aims to boost exports to 35 percent of gross domestic product after leaving the EU as it looks to increase trade ties with the rest of the world, but he gave no timeframe for reaching the target.

Fox, a prominent Brexit supporter, has spent much time over the last two years touring the globe promoting the merits of post-Brexit Britain as a trading partner and holding preliminary talks ahead of possible future trade negotiations.

Editor: Judy Smith

Belt and Road Portal

- is a development strategy proposed by China's paramount leader Xi Jinping that focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries.

China Import Export Fair

- or Canton Fair is a trade fair held in the spring and autumn seasons each year since the spring of 1957 in Canton, China.

Department for International Trade

- is a United Kingdom government department responsible for striking and extending trade agreements between the United Kingdom and non EU states.
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