Education deals announced as Theresa May arrives in China

31 January, 2018, 08:51 | Author: Miranda Cannon
  • Pound slips by a cent on fears over Brexit divisions

THERESA May will bang the drum for Brexit Britain today as she jets to China with the biggest ever business delegation for a Government trip.

Her trip comes as the House of Lords, the upper chamber of the British parliament, is scrutinizing a key piece of Brexit legislation and ministers sought to downplay a leaked government report offering only economic downsides to leaving the European Union in March 2019.

Woodward said that since 2010, Britain's exports to China had risen by 60 per cent, while two-way trade in 2017 grew 30 per cent year on year.

In a sign of the close relations between the two nations, the PM's husband Philip May will be by her side in his first official visit outside of Europe and she visits the education hub of Wuhan, Beijing and Shanghai as well as Trade Secretary Liam Fox.

The UK has said it will prioritise negotiating free trade agreements with major trading partners such as the United States, Australia and Canada after it leaves the European Union in March 2019.

Asked whether she was grateful for the chance to escape the turmoil in the United Kingdom, the PM's official spokesman said: "This is a long planned and important trip and a good opportunity for the Prime Minister to build on the strong relationship which already exists with China - and she is looking forward to it".

The trip will also see Ms May undertake face-to-face talks with President Xi and Premier Li Keqiang, though not all discussions will be easy.

May will also take the opportunity to discuss a wide range of other issues, including climate change and North Korea.

They said they hoped the PM would "be able to provide the people of Hong Kong with some assurance that our developing relationship with China, vital though it is, will not come at the cost of our obligations to them".

May wants to burnish the "golden era" between the countries announced by Xi during a state visit to Britain in 2015.

Downing Street officials said Mr May was going "to support the Prime Minister".

Despite the collective concerns, Woodward said that within the EU Britain had traditionally encouraged engagement with China on investment and trade.

"So we will continue to look at what more can be done to tackle global over-capacity in sectors such as steel, and to ensure that, as our companies innovate and develop new products, they are confident that their intellectual property and rights will be fully protected".

The trip also comes as the last governor of Hong Kong, Lord Patten, and former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown, urged Ms May to raise the plight of democracy activists in the former colony with China's Communist party leaders.



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