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Britain's May says committed to deepening relationship with China

08 February 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping met visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday, calling on both countries to forge an enhanced version of the "Golden Era" bilateral ties.

"First and foremost, I'm serving my country and my party". It was helpful, then that China's television has told the prime minister that her nickname there is "Auntie May".

The main opposition Labour Party is trying to force the government into handing over the report, entitled "EU Exit Analysis - Cross Whitehall Briefing" and dated January 2018, by using an ancient parliamentary procedure.

Part of those arrangements includes China ending its ban on British beef products, while Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also vowed on Wednesday to further open the market to British products, specifically "higher-quality agricultural products".

Earlier in the day, May visited the Forbidden City - former home of China's emperors - as well as hosting a business reception at the British embassy.

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The leaked document said new trade deals with the U.S., China, India and others would not make up for the lost revenue from the EU. The Chinese leader is hoping Britain will endorse his flagship Belt and Road Initiative, a multi-billion dollar project aimed at reviving the ancient Silk Road trade routes between Asia and Europe.

The British government, however, has been less sanguine about the project, with May's spokesman saying that while the idea holds promise, it is "vital that BRI projects meet global standards".

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) also last week urged the Government to ensure it remains in the customs union after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union to protect jobs.

"Brexit is a situation that both our countries face", he said.

"We have just witnessed the extraordinary scene of a serving minister telling the House that, whatever analysis his own department comes up with, he simply won't believe it".

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But business is the focus of her trip.

After May took over from David Cameron as Tory leader in 2016, she paused China's involvement in the Hinkley Point nuclear reactor development, amid concern over involving the Chinese government in critical, security-sensitive infrastructure.

He said the UK would be able to "roll over" 40 existing trade deals it is part of as an European Union member, as well as reaching its own arrangements with the likes of the United States, India and China.

With Brexit about to plunge Britain into its most significant economic upheaval since World War Two, relations with China are set to become increasingly important as May's government looks to develop markets outside the EU.

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Britain's May says committed to deepening relationship with China