UK assesses its post-Brexit trading options, explores Chinese Foreign Minister's offer of free-trade arrangement

UK is already negotiating a free-trade deal with the United States as well as brokering back-door deals with EU members for when it leaves the European Union.

Agence France-Presse July 30, 2018 16:30:45 IST
UK assesses its post-Brexit trading options, explores Chinese Foreign Minister's offer of free-trade arrangement

Beijing: British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Monday that he welcomed China's offer of talks on a post-Brexit trade deal, as he visited Beijing to try to strengthen ties before next year's divorce from Europe. Hunt, appointed earlier this month, was in the Chinese capital to meet Foreign Minister Wang Yi and other top officials, on a trip that will also include stops in Paris and Vienna for talks with his European counterparts on Brexit.

"We discussed the offer made by Foreign Minister Wang to open discussion of a possible free-trade deal done between Britain and China, post-Brexit," Hunt said at a joint press conference. "We welcome this and said that we will explore it."

UK assesses its postBrexit trading options explores Chinese Foreign Ministers offer of freetrade arrangement

Britain is assessing its post-Brexit trade options. Thinkstock

Britain is assessing its post-Brexit trade options. London is already moving ahead with plans to negotiate a free-trade deal with the United States as soon as it leaves the European Union, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said last week. It also was revealed last week that Prime Minister Theresa May was sending ministers to the 27 other member states of the EU to try to broker back-door agreements after Brussels' chief negotiator Michel Barnier raised reservations about her Brexit plan.

An agreement in principle on Britain's departure from the European trading bloc  set for 29 March, 2019  must be reached before a Europe summit in mid-October.

Hunt said he and Wang had "very constructive" talks in Beijing but neither gave any further details. He also said that during their talks, he also raised the issue of Briton Michael Simpson, who was stabbed to death by his estranged Chinese wife in Shanghai late last year, according to British media reports. Simpson's two young children are in the custody of his wife's family now that their mother has been jailed. Simpson's British family has been trying to obtain custody of the children but have been stymied by the courts and the wife's relatives, according to the BBC and other reports.

"We also raised consular cases, including that of the Simpson children. Foreign Minister Wang said he would look into that case while also still respecting the independence of China’s judicial system," Hunt said.

 

Updated Date:

also read

Channel migrant tragedy: Five suspected traffickers arrested; France and UK vow action
World

Channel migrant tragedy: Five suspected traffickers arrested; France and UK vow action

The boat had set off from the coast at Dunkirk before hitting trouble off Calais to the west, a source close to the investigation said

At least 31 dead after migrant boat crossing from France to England capsizes in English Channel
World

At least 31 dead after migrant boat crossing from France to England capsizes in English Channel

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said 34 people were believed to have been on the boat. Authorities found 31 bodies — including those of five women and a young girl.

UK teen escapes from 10-foot long crocodile, says she is 'very lucky' to be alive
World

UK teen escapes from 10-foot long crocodile, says she is 'very lucky' to be alive

The 18-year-old was dragged by a crocodile into the water and it was only because of her fearless friends that Amelie managed to escape