Brexit still causing concern: expert

By Huang Ge Source:Global Times Published: 2017/12/17 22:13:39

Chinese customers look at items inside the newly opened flagship store of British toy retailer Hamley's during its trial operation on the Wangfujing shopping street in Beijing on December 10. Photo: VCG

China and the UK will further strengthen economic and trade ties in sectors including finance, infrastructure and energy, but uncertainties caused by Brexit still concern some Chinese companies, experts said.

China is ready to work with the UK to inject new impetus into the development of the "Golden Era" of Sino-UK relations, the Xinhua News Agency said on Saturday, citing Vice Premier Ma Kai.

Ma made the remarks when co-chairing the ninth China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD) with British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond in Beijing.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Britain, which ushers in new opportunities for deepening China-UK pragmatic cooperation, Ma was quoted as saying in the Xinhua report.

A total of 72 policy outcomes were made at the EFD and new agreements covered a series of sectors ranging from bilateral trade and nuclear power to securities and bond trading links.

China and the UK each recognize the huge benefits of an open world economy, and oppose trade and investment protectionism, read a policy document published by the Chinese Embassy in the UK.

Both countries welcome the internationalization of the yuan and recognize London's vital role in supporting global use of the yuan and facilitating international access to China's domestic capital market, the document said, which also said that the two sides will continue to promote China's participation in the UK's High Speed 2 rail project.

The cooperation potential between China and the UK is quite large, and as the UK is willing to cooperate with China to promote the internationalization of the yuan, bilateral ties in the finance sector will continue to strengthen in the future, Chen Fengying, an expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Chen forecast that the two countries could also cooperate in sectors like manufacturing, nonfinancial services and implementing the Belt and Road initiative. High-end services in third-party markets such as some countries and regions in Africa also offer potential, according to Chen.

Concerns persist

The UK is committed to a smooth and orderly transition to a new relationship with the EU, and will strengthen bilateral links with key partners, including China, according to the policy outcome document.

But experts said that Brexit is still affecting the confidence of some Chinese investors.

"Chinese enterprises will have some concerns during the Brexit process due to uncertainties arising in the UK market," Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Sunday.

For instance, products that can currently move between the UK and EU without tariffs may face duties in the future, Bai said, adding that Chinese investors may have difficulty in setting clear goals for their investments in the current uncertain business environment.

However, Sang Baichuan, director of the Institute of International Business at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said that the ongoing Brexit negotiations would not affect Chinese companies that much because Chinese investors have already anticipated the possible outcomes of Brexit.

Trade costs between the UK and the EU will rise after Brexit, which in turn will lead to more trade cooperation between China and the UK, Sang said.

"China has rising demand for high-tech products from the UK, and it would help maintain the Sino-UK trade balance if the UK could further cut restrictions on its high-tech exports to China," Sang told the Global Times.

China's trade with the UK reached $72 billion from January to November, an increase of 7.3 percent on a yearly basis, according to the latest data from China's General Administration of Customs.

Enhancing economic and trade cooperation with countries like China would also help the UK's position in the Brexit talks, according to Chen.

Newspaper headline: China, UK seek new trade impetus

Posted in: ECONOMY

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