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Britain Open to Foreign Investment
World Economy

Britain Open to Foreign Investment

British Trade Minister Liam Fox said on Wednesday that London would continue to welcome foreign investment, after a US panel rejected a Chinese acquisition of a US money transfer company on national security concerns.
Fox was on a visit to China, the latest installment in long-running economic talks between China and Britain, which has taken on new importance for Britain as it looks to re-invent itself as a global trading nation after leaving the European Union in 2019, CNBC reported.
The US rejection of China’s Ant Financial’s acquisition of MoneyGram International Inc is the most high-profile Chinese deal to be torpedoed under the administration of US President Donald Trump.
Asked whether Britain would serve as an alternative destination for such Chinese investment, Fox told Reuters in an interview that he hoped the investment relationship would “work in two directions”, but that Britain would remain open.
“Of course, we would look, as other countries would do, at our security issues in terms of investment. But the UK has traditionally been an open country, welcoming foreign direct investment. And we will continue to do that,” Fox said. He did not comment specifically on the US panel decision.
China is one of the countries with which Britain hopes to sign a free trade pact once it leaves the EU, and London and Beijing have been keen to show that Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc will not affect ties.
Fox said that the issue of China’s service sector openness was a “big issue” for Britain, but that there were more options than a post-Brexit free trade agreement (FTA) to get Beijing to open, including specific service sector agreements and mutual recognition deals.
“There are a whole range of tools in the box. And people tend to talk as though an FTA is the only tool we have available in terms of trade liberalization. It is not,” he said.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to visit China later this month accompanied by a business delegation, diplomatic and business sources have told Reuters, though the trip has not been formally confirmed.

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