British companies in China optimistic despite Brexit | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 19, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 19, 2018

British companies in China optimistic despite Brexit

British companies in China believe that the UK's exit from the European Union could boost business in the Asian giant, according to a survey published Tuesday.

Nearly half of 212 British companies that took part in the survey, or 47 percent, think Brexit could have a positive impact on business if London and Beijing strike a free trade agreement, according to the British Chambers of Commerce in China.

Fewer than eight percent think the opposite. Some 27.6 percent of surveyed British firms said they believed continued uncertainty over Brexit would have a negative impact on their revenue in China, while 61.1 percent said it would have no bearing.

Overall, the survey results showed a high level of optimism among British companies in China, despite geopolitical uncertainties in the global economy, such as the US-China trade war and the slowdown of China's economy.

About two-thirds of respondents said they were optimistic about the business outlook for their industry for the next two years, and a similar number said they intended to increase investment in their China operations over the next 12 months.

Still, China's business climate remains a concern for British companies: Almost a third said it has deteriorated in the past year, while just 19 percent said it improved.

Among the top difficulties that firms face in China, British businesses cited intellectual property rights protection, and cybersecurity and information technology restrictions -- including internet access and the monopolisation of big data.

"We urge policy makers to address these to ensure fair and reciprocal treatment for British companies in market," stated Nicholas Holt, chair of the British Chamber, in a press release on the report.

Separately, China issued Tuesday a policy paper on the European Union in which it said it "hopes to see Brexit proceed in an orderly fashion and stands ready to advance China-EU and China-UK relations in parallel".

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