Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May finished her visit in China on Friday bagging deals that were worth more than 9.3 billion pounds, or $13.26 billion. It was the end of her three-day trade visit in the world’s second largest economy. Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to enhance the two countries’ relations, paving the way for a “golden era.”
After its decision to leave the European Union in a 2016 referendum, Britain has aimed to repackage itself as a global trading nation. It targets to sign a free trade agreement with China, which is just one among the many nations on its list.
The British prime minister spoke at a business summit in Shanghai, which is China’s commercial capital. May stated that Britain was eager to support Xi’s vision of globalization, including a more open Chinese economy to life.
“Meanwhile, the UK is preparing to leave the European Union. We’re seizing the opportunity to become an ever-more outward-looking Global Britain, deepening our trade relations with nations around the world – including China,” said May.
The prime minister also added that Chinese investments are helping Britain in developing infrastructure, while also helping job creation. She added that 50, 000 British businesses were importing goods from China, while over 10, 000 sell their goods in the Asian country.
“We’ve agreed on moves to bring more of the UK’s internationally renowned food and drink to China, to open up the market to some of Britain’s world-class financial service providers,” said May.
The British government also said that 9.3 billion pounds in deals would help create more than 2, 500 jobs all over the United Kingdom. Without giving details, it also said that Britain’s financial services firms alone were able to secure deals amount to over 1 billion pounds and market access
In spite of issues and widespread concerns over the difficulty in putting up and operating foreign businesses in the Asian country, China is eyeing Britain as an ally in its call for more open global markets. Both Britain and China refer to their relation as a “golden era.”
According to state-run media, when the two leaders met in Beijing late on Thursday, the Chinese president told the British prime minister that the two countries should “add new meaning into the bilateral ties so as to forge an enhanced version of the ‘Golden Era’.”
The Asian giant has also expressed its appreciation of Britain’s eagerness for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is backed by China, and Xi’s Belt and Road initiative, which attempts to build a new Silk Road.
Britain has been praised in a front page commentary on Friday, with the overseas edition of the People’s Daily saying that it had shown “intelligence and pragmatism” in supporting the Belt and Road.
“It’s a model for other Western Nations,” said People’s Daily.
However, Brexit still had some unpleasant effects over Beijing, which is concerned about losing an important voice when it comes to supporting free trade in the European Union. It also had some concerns regarding the implication of Brexit for market access to Europe for Chinese firms that have made investments in Britain.
On the other hand, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told the Minister on Wednesday that the relations between China and Britain would be unruffled through Brexit.