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>> China and Britain's foreign secretaries are talking about a new free-trade deal. But it's their ongoing battle with another big trade partner, the US, that might seal the deal.>> It's the offer made by Foreign Minister Wang to open discussions about a possible free-trade deal. And that's something that we welcome and we said that we will explore.
>> Beijing and London had already wanted to strengthen their business ties as Britain prepares to leave the European Union next year. Likewise, London also wants better access to US markets after Brexit. But the Trump administration has gathered a reputation among European and Chinese diplomats as unpredictable. So it might not be a surprise that China, which has taken the worst beating from Washington's many trade disputes, is looking for new partners.
Britain hasn't been unscathed either. For now, they're subject to the same steep import tariffs on aluminium and steel that Washington levied on the European Union and the same retaliatory measures that the EU fought back with. Also, although President Trump recently seemed to walk back his threat of new tariffs on European cars, nothing is set in stone.
A Britain-China deal would be a victory for both governments, but it's a long way off. They can't start negotiating until after Brexit, negotiations that typically take years any way. A lot can happen in that time.