China is prepared to begin trade negotiations with the UK in the wake of the Brexit vote in last month's referendum on European Union membership, according to press reports.
Xing Houyuan, an official at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, was reported by the state-owned China Daily
as saying that, now that Britain – China's second largest trading partner in the EU
– had voted to leave the bloc, the "situation in Western Europe will push China and the UK to make a trade treaty".
Similar optimism was expressed by Lord Price, a British trade minister and former Waitrose boss, who was reported by the Daily Telegraph
as telling the British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong
, “I'm optimistic about the future: particularly in helping create a second Elizabethan Golden Age. The first Golden Age was based on peace, prosperity, new trading markets and a flourishing of the arts.”
While Lord King said the government wanted “a continued, close trading relationship with Europe”, he added, “There's also a prospect for striking new deals with Canada, New Zealand and Australia which could form the beginning of a Commonwealth trading pact.
“And to the opportunities in the East, where for centuries British merchants have traded with China for tea, white gold and porcelain as well as with Japan, South Korea and other Asian nations,”
Meanwhile, Shen Danyang, a Commerce Ministry spokesman in Beijing, told journalists that, despite the shock the Brexit vote had given global markets
, China remained quite confident about future trade ties with both the EU and Britain.
"China always treats and develops Sino-EU and the Sino-UK trade relations from a strategic perspective. We support the Europe's own choice of development path and the integration progress of Europe," he said.
"China will work with the EU and the UK to deepen cooperation in various fields. And we will pay close attention to the situation and influence after the Brexit."
Mr Shen admitted the turbulence in the international market following the Brexit vote would have an impact on Chinese companies investing overseas because the external environment had become increasingly uncertain. However, he said the overall impact would be limited and short-lived.
"Looking from the mid-to-long term, the short-term impacts will not last long. The international investment environment will turn toward the better, and new business opportunities are still abundant," he added.
"In general, there will still be more investment and cooperation opportunities for our companies abroad. We have good reason to believe our outbound investments will remain positive and stable."
Read more about China and the Asia-Pacific region in our APAC Summer 2016 digital magazine.
For more Relocate Global news and features about the Asia Pacific region, see our Asia and China sections.
Read analysis of what the vote to leave the EU may mean for for the global mobility industry in Brexit is a reality – a new era for global mobility? by Relocate Global's managing editor, Fiona Murchie.
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