China deal: Let's hope agreement opens doors for UK

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The Independent Online

One of the most often quoted economic factoids is that the UK does more business with Ireland than with China. In part this is a misunderstanding as it is purely a matter of proximity.

Nonetheless, the UK's share of key Chinese markets is pitifully small – smaller even that its overall share of world trade. A visitor to China will see little evidence of a healthy market for British goods – only the usual standbys of luxury cars and whisky. The real problem is ours rather than China's and it is why we have run a disappointing trade balance for years. The short-term solution appears to be selling expensive chunks of central London real estate to China's burgeoning elite. I hope their leadership will allow more of our accountants and lawyers to do business over there but it will be a hard sell.

Sean O'Grady