UK Health Minister comes down firmly on remaining in the EU
Updated: 2016-06-17 01:27
By Wang Mingjie(chinadaily.com.cn)
Jeremy Hunt [Photo by Wang Mingjie/chinadaily.com.cn]
Jeremy Hunt, Britain's Secretary of State for Health, says the departure of the UK from the European Union would be very destabilizing and could only have a bad impact on Chinese companies that want to export to the EU.
Hunt, who is also the Patron of Conservative Friends of the Chinese, was accompanied by his Chinese wife when he spoke at London Chinese Community Centre yesterday to support the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign.
Britons are due to vote on whether to remain in the EU in a national referendum on June 23.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman has in the past hinted at China's desire for the UK to remain in the EU.
Hunt said "Britain's relationship with China as strategically is very important for the UK and that is why we listen when countries like China say how important it is that we remain a member of the EU."
He thinks China sees Britain as a country that has always championed free trade and open markets and believes that China wants to see Britain's voice strong in Europe, not retreating from Europe.
"The EU is China's biggest trading partner and China thinks that it would be potentially very damaging for the EU if there was big instability," he adds.
Leave Campaign argues that a so-called Brexit would open the door to a Chinese trade agreement with Britain and it's a lot easier and quicker to negotiate trade deals between two countries that have got their individual interests to look after rather than doing it with 28 countries, all with 28 different interests and all with 28 different vetoes.
Hunt says that it takes longer to wrestle with the interests of 28 different countries rather than one, but the issue is not just how long it takes, rather how good the deal is at the end of it.