Friday 15 December 2017

EU split should be amicable, China says at UK talks

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Arj Singh

Britain and the European Union should strike a "mutually beneficial" trade deal to take effect after Brexit, a Chinese vice finance minister has said.

Shi Yaobin called for stability and smooth negotiations, suggesting China does not want to see so-called "cliff edge" dramatic changes in trading terms when Britain leaves the EU.

He spoke after Britain and China agreed a raft of measures on infrastructure investment and closer financial cooperation at the eighth UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD) which was held in London.

"The EU and UK are both very important trading partners for China.

"We hope the EU and UK conduct smooth and successful negotiations which reach the kind of arrangement which is mutually agreeable and mutually beneficial," he said.

"We ourselves expect to see that the negotiations produce a very stable and very good outcome for EU and UK."

UK Chancellor Philip Hammond repeatedly hailed a "golden era" in UK-Sino relations as he set out agreements reached during the EFD.

Among the measures announced yesterday is a move to the next stage of research in plans to link the London and Shanghai stock exchanges.

China has also agreed to gradually raise the 50pc limit on foreign ownership for securities and mutual fund companies to give British firms greater freedom to operate there.

In addition, a number of Chinese financial companies will open offices in London, including insurance company China Life, the China Foreign Exchange Trade System and Shanghai Clearing House.

"I look forward to working with vice premier Ma Kai to give effect to our commitments and thus contribute to delivering a golden era in UK-China relations," Mr Hammond said.

Mr Ma added: "This year marks the beginning of the golden era of China-UK relations and next year will mark the 45th anniversary of the ambassadorial diplomatic relations between our two countries."

The move has been seen as a fresh attempt to reassure the Chinese after a rocky start to relations under Theresa May.

One of her first acts on becoming prime minister last July was to order a review of the project to build the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant - part-financed by the Chinese - to the intense annoyance of Beijing.

Irish Independent

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