Thu, Feb 01, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Brexit dogs May as she eyes ‘golden era’ with China


British Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband, Philip May, arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport yesterday.

Photo: Bloomberg

British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday touted a “golden era” of Sino-British relations with deeper trade ties after Britain leaves the EU, but her visit to Beijing was dogged by a Brexit row at home.

As she embarked on a three-day visit to China, May batted away critics of her leadership on Brexit and domestic issues, including within her party.

The House of Lords is scrutinizing a key piece of legislation on quitting the EU as a leaked government report shows only economic downsides to leaving the bloc.

May discussed Brexit with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) when they met at the Great Hall of the People, where both leaders boasted about their “golden era” of relations and the potential for trade ties.

“We are determined to deepen our trading relationship even further and we are ambitious for what our future trade relationship will be,” May said.

May said more than £9 billion (US$12.7 billion) in business deals are to be signed during her visit.

The two nations also launched a joint trade and investment review to “identify priorities” on goods, services and investment, as well as measures to improve access to the Chinese market and remove trade barriers, including making progress on allowing British beef exports, she said.

In a nod to her hosts, May said “we welcome the opportunities” provided by China’s Belt and Road Initiative, but it should “meet international standards.”

Touting that Sino-British relations “don’t have winter, only spring,” Li said their ties would not be affected by Brexit.

“Our bilateral relationship will not change with the changes of UK relations,” he said.

May is to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) today and finish her visit tomorrow in Shanghai.

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