Hammond warns of Brexit global ‘shadow,’ says is mulling trade deal with China

July 24, 2016 9:30 pm

Britain’s Chancellor of the
Exchequer Philip Hammond attends the - High Level Financial
Services Roundtable at the Bank of China head office building in Beijing
on July 22, 2016. (photos by AFP)

British Chancellor of the
Exchequer Philip Hammond says the country is considering a free trade
deal with China, further warning that could cast a “shadow” on
the world economy.

The British finance minister made the
remarks on the sidelines of the G20 meeting of leading world economies
in an interview with the BBC and Sky on Sunday in the Chinese city
of Chengdu.
At a referendum in June, Britons narrowly voted to
quit the European Union, which, according to Hammond, is “not the only
shadow the world economy faces.”
“There is going to be uncertainty
about the outcome hanging over the world economic outlook for perhaps
the next couple of years,” Hammond said.
He further suggested that despite the decision, Britain welcomes increasing economic ties particularly with Asian powers.
“At
the same time, there are very exciting opportunities opening up with
China, with Australia, with India, and with many other countries” he
said.
Asked if he considered a free trade deal with Beijing, Hammond replied: “Definitely I could see such a thing.”
“We
already have a strategic partnership with China… Once we are out of
the European Union then I have no doubt on both sides we will want to
cement that relationship into a firmer structure in a bilateral way,” he
noted.
In his visit, the British foreign minister was being
accompanied by a high-ranking delegation of figures from Britain’s
financial services companies, including HSBC, Virgin Money, the London
Stock Exchange and Standard Life.
Prior to Britain’s decision to
exit the bloc, Chinese President Xi Jinping had expressed hope that the
country would remain an EU member to support the “deepening development
of China-EU ties.”

Britain’s
Queen Elizabeth II (2L) and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (L) bid
farewell to Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) and his wife Peng Liyuan at
Buckingham Palace in central London on October 22, 2015.

Earlier
this month, Prime Minister Theresa May, who won the premiership in the
wake of Brexit, discussed a trade deal with Australia in a phone call
with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Foreign Office junior minister Alok Sharma was also sent to India on Monday to boost economic cooperation with New Delhi.
“Britain
is open for business and thriving on the world stage. We want the
strongest possible relationship with India,” Sharma said.

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