Theresa May hails 'next step in golden era' of UK relations with China

Posted On: 
9th November 2016

Theresa May has hailed the “next step in this golden era” of UK-China relations as the Government announces a fresh wave of infrastructure deals between the two countries.

Theresa May meets Chinese president Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in September
Credit: 
PA Images

Billions of pounds worth of projects, including a massive Northern Powerhouse Investment Portfolio plan featuring 13 large-scale developments, are among those being launched.

It comes as Chancellor Philip Hammond welcomes Chinese vice premier Ma Kai to Britain for talks on “building the relationship” between the two powers.

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The announcements will quell concerns that the Prime Minister’s team is less enthusiastic about strengthening ties with China - and boosting the 'Northern Powerhouse' - than her predecessors.  

She is said to have thought former chancellor George Osborne too “gung ho” in his deal making with China, after he signed agreements worth millions.

Meanwhile ex-minister and Osborne ally Jim O’Neill dramatically quit the Government in September after raising concerns about Mrs May's commitment to the People’s Republic.

But today Mrs May said: “I’m determined that as we leave the European Union, we build a truly global Britain that is open for business.

“That is the message I took to India this week, and that’s the message I will be giving Vice Premier Ma Kai on his visit to the UK.

“As we take the next step in this golden era of relations between the UK and China, I am excited about the opportunities for expanding trade and investment between our two countries.”   

Chancellor Mr Hammond meanwhile said: “The golden era in UK China relations continue to deepen… The mutual benefits are clear.

“China is the world’s second largest economy; UK exports to China have grown rapidly and Britain is home to more Chinese investment than any other European country.”

In July he said he could “definitely” envisage a free trade deal once the UK has left the European Union.

Among the infrastructure deals include Chinese investment in Salford’s MediaCityUK and the £1.7bn London Royal Albert Docks project.

Earlier this year Mrs May also gave the green light to a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, which will be built with Chinese investment, despite pausing agreement on the deal for a short time.