Britain gets tough! UK and EU agree post-Brexit alliance to crack down on China

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Trade Secretary Liz Truss secured the backing of her European Union counterpart of a series of international reforms aimed at limiting Beijing’s powers. In a private Brussels meeting today, she told EU Commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis that the bloc has allowed China to get away with too much for too long. The pair agreed to work together in a blitz to prevent the free-spending superpower handing out unlimited state subsidies to its firms.

Europe has previously been accused of going soft on the superpower to protect German manufacturers.

And newly-elected US President Joe Biden expressed fury that Brussels had brokered a trade and investment agreement with China.

Ms Truss wants Britain to play an influential role in forcing Beijing to act more responsibly on the world stage.

The Cabinet minister told the top eurocrat she was ready “work hand-in-glove” with Europe and the United States on global trade, especially “tackling China’s appalling behaviour”, a Whitehall insider said.

The source added: “It’s really important for nations and blocs that believe in democracy and are pro-trade to work together on the big issues facing global trade – making trade greener, ensuring countries play by the rules and get tough on non-market economies.

“Both the UK and EU believe the WTO needs urgent reform and needs to work better.”

This is expected to start with Britain calling for the World Trade Organisation to drop China’s classification as a emerging economy.

Mr Dombrovskis was said to be supportive of the reform after a “constructive meeting” in Brussels.

The Commission said: “They exchanged views on the UK presidency of the G7 and reflected on priorities for WTO reform.

“Vice-president Dombrovskis invited the UK to cooperate closely with the EU in like-minded groups at the WTO.”

A senior EU official said the bloc was ready to work with Britain closely on “climate change and the post-pandemic recovery” despite recent rifts over Brexit.

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Japan is also preparing to join the alliance against China, it has emerged.

Tokyo is also a member of the G7 group of powerful economies, currently chaired by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Following the G7 summit, leaders said in a joint statement: “We will: champion open economies and societies; promote global economic resilience; harness the digital economy with data free  flow with trust; cooperate on a modernised, freer and fairer rules-based multilateral trading  system that reflects our values and delivers balanced growth with a reformed World Trade Organisation at its centre; and, strive to reach a consensus-based solution on international taxation by mid-2021 within the framework of the OECD.

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“With the aim of supporting a fair  and mutually beneficial global economic system for all people, we will engage with others,  especially G20 countries including large economies such as China.

“As Leaders, we will consult  with each other on collective approaches to address non-market oriented policies and practices, and we will cooperate with others to address important global issues that impact all countries.”

An EU spokesman added: “The EU wants to constructively engage with China and remains firm on our interests and values.”

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