UK offers to work with allies to combat “unfair behaviour” by China-backed firms
Britain will offer to work with the European Union, Japan and America to clamp down on what it calls unfair behaviour by Chinese state-owned enterprises, its trade minister Liz Truss will tell the World Economic Forum on Friday.
Truss, who is in charge of building new trade links around the world following Britain’s exit from the European Union, will look to build consensus among trade ministers at the meeting that “cheats and bad actors” on free trade must be dealt with.
“We want action on subsidies and state-owned enterprises, which can undermine genuine free trade and have to stop being used unfairly – That means being more consistent in enforcing our current system, and bringing in new rules,” Truss will say, according to advance extracts of her speech.
Relations between Britain and China have cooled in recent years, from heavily courting Chinese investment in British infrastructure in 2015 to banning the telecoms firm Huawei from parts of its communications network and tightening rules on foreign investment over national security concerns.
Truss, due to speak at around 1600 GMT, will repeat calls for World Trade Organisation reform, saying its dispute resolution system must be upgraded and take tougher action “so the biggest countries cannot dominate smaller members”.
Having quit the EU’s political and economic union and negotiated only a limited free trade agreement in its place, Britain is looking around the world for new markets and to carve out a role for itself as a leading advocate of free trade.
Britain is expected to shortly submit a formal application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – a trading bloc of 11 nations around the Pacific rim including Japan, Canada and Australia.