Uk-china Relations in the Context of Brexit: Economics Still in Command?

China International Studies (English) - - News - Shaun Breslin

It will take many years for us to know the full implications of the historic Brexit vote on June 23, 2016. Even once the final terms of separation between the UK and former EU partners have been established, it will take some time for a whole range of actors to get used to the new arrangements – governments, companies and private individuals will all have to forget the old ways of doing things and learn new ones. And of course, the UK will also have to build new relationships with the rest of the world. On one hand, it might become easier for the UK to forge new sets of relationships, as it will be able to act independently on issues like negotiating trade agreements, rather than the EU having legal competence for trade issues as it does at the moment. However, on the other hand, it might become harder for the UK to get what it wants, given that the bargaining power of one (the UK) is likely to be less than that of many (the EU), and the attractiveness of the UK as a gateway to the rest of Europe (for example, financially) might diminish in a post-brexit world.

So the key word is “uncertainty”; and it is likely to remain the key word for the foreseeable future. In the case of UK relations with China, this uncertainty has been compounded by one of the more immediate consequences of the Brexit referendum vote. Although it did not trigger a formal change of government (as the ruling Conservative Party simply changed its leader rather than ceding power to somebody else), the change in

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