In her February 2018 visit to Beijing, Prime Minister Theresa May cited the Belt and Road Initiative as a key pillar of future UK-China relations. The Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, also visited China in spring 2019, and as the Government continues to plan its post-Brexit trade policy, the Committee will take evidence on what the initiative means for future UK-China trade.
The BRI is a multi-layered foreign and economic policy programme that was first unveiled by President Xi Jinping in 2013, through which China is building and developing land and sea trade routes to and throughout Europe and Asia. The programme will see the world’s second biggest economy expand its global geographic and economic reach, but questions remain as to its objectives, as well as whether the UK is making the most of the trading opportunities it presents.
In 2017, China was the destination for 3.6% of UK exports and supplied 7% of UK imports. Its overall share of UK trade has grown considerably in recent decades: in 1999, the same figures were 0.7% and 1.5% respectively. Key British exports include road vehicles, petroleum-related products, and travel services; notable imports include telecoms equipment, plastic articles, toys, games and sporting goods.
The Committee is expected to focus on opportunities and challenges for UK businesses, as well as the underlying strategic implications of possible participation in Belt and Road projects. It will take evidence from Chatham House, Baker McKenzie, and Grisons Peak, a London-based, Asia-focused merchant bank.
Wednesday June 5, Committee Room 16, Palace of Westminster
- Dr Yu Jie, Research Fellow, Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House
- Peter Lu, Partner, Baker McKenzie LLP
- Henry Tillman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Grisons Peak