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04:05, 17 August 2018 Friday
Update: 03:27, 02 February 2018 Friday

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Brexit haunts May as she seeks China trade post-EU
Brexit haunts May as she seeks China trade post-EU

May began her trip with plans to announce nine billion pounds ($12.7 billion) in business deals, an agreement to end a ban on British beef and promises to seek more trade opportunities.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Hounded by Brexit rows at home, Prime Minister Theresa May met Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday to seek deeper trade ties after Britain leaves the European Union.

But criticism in London over her domestic agenda and her handling of Britain's contentious divorce with the European Union loomed large, prompting her to declare she was "not a quitter" before her arrival.

May held talks with Xi at the Diaoyutai State Guest House on Thursday after visiting an agricultural sciences academy, but there were no immediate readouts of their meeting. 

The BBC reported that May, who was expected to raise environmental concerns, would present Xi with a box set of the network's Blue Planet II series, with a personal message from presenter David Attenborough.

Brexit crept into her talks with Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday, though her Chinese counterpart reassured her that their "golden era" of relations would not be affected by London's EU departure.

"As a trade and strategic partner of both Britain and the EU, China certainly hopes that the result (of Brexit) will be good for both sides," said Cui Hongjian, director of the European studies department at the China Institute of International Studies.

"If it comes to a double-lose result, that will be also unfavourable to China," Cui told AFP.

China worries that Britain's EU exit will remove a pro-free trade force from the bloc and give rise to protectionism, he said"

Wooing China is part of London's broader strategy to seek deeper trade ties with countries beyond Europe's borders after Britain leaves the EU next year.



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