Era of Realignments: Britain and Its Relations with China Post-Brexit
The UK has a long history with China and the Chinese government has been viewing Brexit with similarly surprised eyes as the rest of the world. As the negotiations for Brexit tentatively begin to take shape now that Article 50 has been triggered, what will this mean for the UK’s relationship with China? This chapter suggests hypothetical scenarios for a soft, hard and what the author calls ‘malleable’ Brexit and goes on to view the UK’s relationship with China through several important lenses, including investment, trade, security and diplomacy. Through the identification of trade and investment imbalances, tracing the evolution of China’s free trade agreement programme with a plethora of countries and economic communities, the author suggests that China is a likely candidate for a future trade agreement should the UK leave the EU and begin negotiating free trade partnerships and highlights the UK’s desire to be a significant partner with China in financial services provision both in the UK and in China. Leaving the EU exposes the UK to continuing criticism from a China that has already been viewing the UK as less relevant; however, furthering recent improved relations with China could assist a deepening of British business in China and encourage further investment by China into the UK.