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Trade Secretary Liz Truss: UK must not become dependent on China

Published: (Updated: ) in European News by .

The UK trade secretary hit out at ‘economic coercion’ on the part of Beijing as she made the case for World Trade Organization reform.

LONDON — The U.K. must not become “dependent” on trade with China, Trade Secretary Liz Truss warned, as she said Western countries had turned a “blind eye” to Beijing’s controversial trade practices in the past.

In an interview Wednesday with POLITICO Live, Truss said China had been guilty of “forced technology transfer, IP violations or unfair industrial subsidies that haven’t been transparently declared,” and said World Trade Organization reform was now needed to make its “rules tougher” and restore faith in free trade.

“We believe in trade as a force for good and of course, we continue to trade with China,” she said. “It’s an important market for exports. There is Chinese investment in the United Kingdom. I think the key thing is about not becoming dependent and making sure that we have a multitude of trading partners.”

New data from the Office for National Statistics this week shows the U.K. has become more reliant on China for its imports over the past two years. China remains Britain’s second-largest single nation trade partner, yet its trade relations with British allies like the United States and Australia have worsened in recent years.

British MPs were recently sanctioned for their opposition to China’s treatment of Muslim Uyghurs in its Xinjiang region, conditions Truss called “horrific.” She added that regarding the sanctions, she stood by “colleagues who have faced this appalling treatment by China.”

“As well as those specific violations, there’s a broader issue here about economic coercion and the use of economic power to achieve things,” Truss said. “And it is right that democratic countries within the WTO, and our allies who believe in following the rules, do seek to get changes to the way the organization works.”

This article is part of POLITICO’s premium policy service Pro Trade. From transatlantic trade wars to the U.K.’s future trading relationship with the EU and rest of the world, Pro Trade gives you the insight you need to plan your next move. Email pro@politico.eu for a complimentary trial.

Source: POLITICO https://www.politico.eu/article/trade-secretary-liz-truss-uk-not-dependent-china/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication

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