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Does the UK Have a Trade Agreement with China?

In the wake of Brexit, the UK is seeking new trade agreements to replace its membership in the European Union. One potential partner is China, which has the world`s largest economy and a growing middle class with increasing purchasing power. But does the UK have a trade agreement with China?

The short answer is no. Despite years of negotiations, the UK and China have not yet reached a bilateral trade agreement. However, they have made progress in other areas of economic cooperation.

In 2019, the UK and China agreed to commercial deals worth over £1 billion during a visit by Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua. These deals covered sectors such as finance, healthcare, and smart cities, and were seen as a sign of willingness by both sides to deepen economic ties.

The two countries have also been exploring options for a free trade agreement (FTA) since the UK`s decision to leave the EU. An FTA would reduce or eliminate trade barriers such as tariffs and quotas, making it easier and cheaper for businesses in both countries to trade with each other.

In July 2020, the UK government announced the start of negotiations for an FTA between the UK and China. However, progress has been slow, with some experts citing political tensions and human rights concerns as potential obstacles.

China`s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority, crackdown on Hong Kong`s democracy movement, and handling of the COVID-19 pandemic have drawn criticism from the UK and other Western nations. These issues may make it difficult for the UK government to make concessions in negotiations with China.

Furthermore, the UK`s close military and political ties with the US may also complicate trade talks with China. The US has been engaged in a trade war with China, imposing tariffs on Chinese imports and imposing restrictions on Chinese companies such as Huawei. The UK`s decision on whether to align with the US or China on trade issues is likely to be a balancing act.

In summary, the UK does not currently have a trade agreement with China, but negotiations for an FTA are ongoing. Political tensions and human rights concerns may slow progress, and the UK`s relationship with the US is likely to complicate matters. Nevertheless, both countries have expressed a desire to deepen economic ties, and a successful FTA could bring significant benefits to businesses and consumers in both countries.