Theresa May to meet President Xi Jinping to discuss trade 'worth £9 billion'

Theresa May to meet President Xi Jinping to discuss trade 'worth £9 billion'

Theresa May is currently on a visit to China

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Theresa May is to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, on the second day of a trade mission which she believes will result in commercial deals worth as much as £9 billion.

May and premier Li Keqiang agreed on a new trade and investment review yesterday (January 31), which is seen as a stepping stone to a full free trade agreement after Brexit.

Li also promised that Beijing will further open up its markets to the UK, including to agricultural products and financial services.

Following talks in the Chinese capital with Li, the Prime Minister said they had agreed to intensify the so-called "golden era" in their bilateral relationship.

She told a joint news conference that with UK-China trade currently worth a record £59 billion a year, she expected deals worth a further £9 billion to be signed during the course of her three-day visit.

Li said their talks had delivered "substantive results" and that their bilateral relationship would not be affected by Britain's impending withdrawal from the EU. 

The focus of talks between May and Xi today (February 1) is expected to be international issues, including the continued defiance of international warnings by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un over his nuclear and ballistic missile programme.

The Prime Minister is also expected to highlight environmental issues, presenting the Chinese leader with a box-set copy of the BBC's Blue Planet II series, with a specially written message from presenter Sir David Attenborough.

The pair have already covered a wide range of issues including human rights, the protection of intellectual property rights and overcapacity in the international steel market, with China committed to a 200 million tonne cut in its steel production between 2016 and 2020.

The two leaders said that they had also agreed to co-operate more closely on the United Nations Security Council to uphold world peace and the international rules-based order, including in relation to North Korea.

"We agree that its pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes is illegal, reckless and poses an unacceptable threat to international security," May said.