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Britain's May Meets China's Xi on Visit Focused Post-Brexit

Britain's May Meets China's Xi on Visit Focused Post-Brexit

Thursday, 01 February 2018 05:38 AM

BEIJING (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May met Thursday with Chinese President Xi Jinping on a visit aimed at mapping out new trading arrangements following Britain's departure from the European Union.

The meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing came a day after May called for expanding the "global strategic partnership" between the two countries.

May said business deals worth more than 9 billion pounds ($13 billion) will be announced before her visit ends Friday.

Bolstering ties with China became more urgent after Britain voted in 2016 to leave the EU, compelling it to forge new trade agreements outside of the 28-nation bloc.

British exports to China are up 60 percent since 2010, and China is expected to be one of the U.K.'s biggest foreign investors by 2020.

May is being accompanied on her visit by 50 British business leaders, including the chief executives of Jaguar Land Rover and drug firm AstraZeneca. She will also visit the financial hub of Shanghai before returning home.

British finance minister Philip Hammond visited in December, pledging to promote London as a center for transactions in China's yuan currency and announcing up to 25 billion pounds ($35 billion) in support for British businesses involved in the "Belt and Road" initiative, China's mega-plan for trade and infrastructure links across Asia.

But May appears more cautious about embracing Chinese investment than her predecessor, David Cameron. She annoyed Beijing in 2016 by temporarily delaying approval for a Chinese-backed nuclear power plant in southwestern England.

May has also been hesitant to endorse the Belt and Road initiative, although on Wednesday she expressed conditional support for British involvement as long as such projects adhere to established global business practices.

May has also echoed China's reference to a "golden era" in relations proclaimed in 2015 by Xi and David Cameron, her predecessor as prime minister.

As she visits China, May's job is under threat from rivals within her Conservative Party, who are divided over whether to make a clean break with the EU or seek to keep the closest-possible economic relationship.

May insisted to reporters flying with her to China, "I'm not a quitter."

There is "a long-term job to be done" by her government, she said, according to the Press Association news agency.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May met Thursday with Chinese President Xi Jinping on a visit aimed at mapping out new trading arrangements following Britain's departure from the European Union.The meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing came a day after May...
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2018-38-01
Thursday, 01 February 2018 05:38 AM
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