Would UK exit from the EU affect China?

By Sumantra Maitra
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, February 4, 2016
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British Prime Minister David Cameron has suddenly complicated the issue of his country's continued EU membership by demanding the right to use emergency powers to ban migrants reaching the EU from claiming in-work benefits from their very first day.

Cameron made it clear he would tell EU Council President Donald Tusk of Poland that Britain needs such emergency powers to try and gain control over the flood of migrants, which adds another dimension to its plan to hold a referendum on whether to stay in or leave the EU.

This sudden development puts Britain on collision course with the EU, and emboldens Eurosceptics in Britain, in both the ruling Conservative and opposition Labour Party, and there is a fear Cameron will lose control of the wave of anti-EU sentiment in the lead-up to the referendum.

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham for Labour, has already claimed the campaign to keep the UK in the EU is confused and for the first time, there is a real chance and risk of a British exit. He argues this confusion and the insecurity surrounding the campaign is twice as dangerous as that for the previous Scottish referendum on independence (lost) as it will not just affect Britain but also the whole of EU and the rest of her trading partners.

The Guardian quoted him as saying, "Put simply, Brexit (the popular short form for a UK exit from the EU) means breakup - not just of Europe, but of the UK, too. If a majority in England carries through a vote to leave, pressure will build for a second independence referendum to open the way back to the EU for an independent Scotland."

Naturally the question has a massive policy consequence for China, being one of the largest trading partners of Britain. Will Brexit affect the Sino-British relationship? There are two sides to the argument.

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