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CBI: UK will stand stronger with China from inside the EU

Celebrating the Year of the Monkey at the CBI’s annual Chinese New Year Dinner, the CBI’s President urged the strengthening of economic ties between the UK and China, and said that the Sino-British relationship will be stronger if the UK remains in the European Union.

On the UK-China economic relationship, Mr. Drechsler said:

“Last year saw President Xi Jinping’s State Visit to the United Kingdom. The dawn of a ‘Golden Era’ for UK-China relations.

“But – for business – the highlight was the nearly 40 billion pounds worth of deals agreed during the four-day visit.

“That’s about 400 million pounds worth of deals every hour!

“Many of these involved partners from East and West coming together to build the technologies of tomorrow.”

On Europe, Mr. Drechsler said:

“During his State Visit, the Chinese president expressed a hope that Britain could play a constructive role in deepening EU-China ties.

“And whilst a trade deal with China is still a way down the track, we surely have the best chance of getting a good deal with the backing of 500 million citizens, instead of 64 million.

“Of course – countries outside the EU can, and do, sign trade deals. Just as the UK would in the event of Brexit.

“But compared to what Europe can achieve, these deals aren’t up to scratch. The UK will be better able to stand toe-to-toe with China inside the EU than cutting its own deal outside of it.

“So when people say “look at Switzerland and Iceland – they already have trade deals with China” don’t forget that these deals are limited in scope and ambition. The Swiss deal – for example – doesn’t cover cars or financial services – two big export areas for the UK.”

On the trading partnership between the UK and China, Mr. Drechsler said:

“And looking forward, China will remain an opportunity for UK exporters. Even if China grew just 5% this year, it would still add more than twice as much to the world economy than when it was growing 10% in 2006.

“Let’s remember that China is a market of giants. China’s middle-classes already have a huge appetite and passion for British goods – from Burberry scarves, to cars made by Bentley or Jaguar Land-Rover.

“And China’s recent rebalancing towards services represents an exciting opportunity for a whole range of industries – from insurance to professional services and our world-beating creative industries.

“So let’s make the ‘Golden Era’ of China-UK relations a reality.”


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