Theresa May pledges to work with China on open trade


Enhancing trade and economic ties was on top of agenda during British Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to China this week. On the final day on Friday, while attending the China-UK Business Forum in Shanghai, May emphasized the importance of removing barriers to trade between the two countries and facilitating cooperation in technology and innovation.

May said the trip took place at a critical point. As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, it’s seizing the opportunity to become an ever more outward-looking global player.

The UK is willing to help China realize the vision of a more open market, she said, and hopes that business and trade ties between the two nations will run deep and wide.

British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech at the China-UK Business Forum in Shanghai, Feb. 2, 2018. /Reuters Photo

The PM said: “That’s why I’m accompanied on this trip by a business delegation representing businesses of every size and shape, and hailing from every corner of the UK. Some have long established here in China, while others are visiting for the very first time. But all are completely committed to forging lasting relationships with businesses, investors and customers in your country.”

May expects cooperation to be further enhanced in advanced technologies and innovation, because she believes this is where the future lies.

During her visit to China, deals worth more than 9 billion pounds were signed, with the potential of creating over 2,500 jobs across the UK.

“It’s the future that excites me, not just because of the possibilities for increased trade, but also because of the possibilities for greater cooperation between our peoples,” she said. “China and the UK have proud histories of innovation, stretching hundreds or even thousands of years. That spirit of invention is still very much alive today. And if we pull out our talents further, the results could be extraordinary.”

William Shakespeare once said that the golden age is before us, not behind us, which seems to fit the message for China-UK relations that Theresa May sought to portray during her three-day trip.