China’s state-run tabloid The Global Times this week expressed the terms for a UK investment boost if they co-ordinate a trade-deal with Beijing. One of the key concessions Beijing would seek is a reversal of the recent ban on China’s access to high technology areas of the British economy. Most importantly would be to re-instate Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s 5G network.
Beijing would also insist on the UK’s appeasement of China’s expansionist foreign policy strategies.
Most notable here would be China’s ongoing militarisation of the South China Sea.
The Global Times warned that if the UK does not meet their concessions then Beijing “will immediately discourage technology firms from investing in the country, because the UK’s governmental discrimination may subject businesses to unnecessary political uncertainty in a US-led technology war against China.
“Moreover, China-UK bilateral relations may also face unexpected disruptions when it comes to trade issues.”
The editorial concluded: “It goes without saying that closer ties with China will offer the country more flexibility in managing trade and investment, as expanding export opportunities in China could bring about a faster and more sustainable economic recovery for the UK and its people.”
If a no-deal Brexit manifests on December 31, China is set to offer enticing trade deals, and now that Joe Biden has prioritised stronger relations with the EU, Britain may feel isolated, and offers of increased trade with China may become more palatable.
China will hope for the UK Government’s quiet fealty to the politburo in Beijing, and in return, they will receive billions of pounds worth of investment.
But a successful China/UK post-Brexit free trade deal would be conditional on political concessions that Beijing would expect the UK to make in return for inward investment.
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President Xi Jinping is focusing his efforts on a foreign policy initiative to entice the UK with a new trade deal.
However, former President Abe of Japan has claimed that Britain should take the opportunity of Brexit to increase allegiances with China’s opponents in the Asia-Pacific region.
Writing for thinktank Policy Exchange, Mr Abe said: “Britain can work with countries throughout the region on upholding democratic values and supporting the multinational institutions that have developed in recent years.
“On the security front, the British military, and the Royal Navy, in particular, will be a welcome presence in the seas of the Indo-Pacific.”
The thinktank argues: “In contradiction with some of the prevailing narratives about Britain’s assumed post-Brexit irrelevance, friendly countries from across the IPR, Indo-Pacific region, are eager to see more UK involvement in their part of the world.
“To fully globalise Britain, the Indo-Pacific region, stretching from the eastern Indian Ocean to the western Pacific and Oceania, must become a priority.”