BEIJING (Reuters) - China has an open attitude towards a free trade deal with Britain and is willing to study it, China's Commerce Ministry said on Tuesday.
June's vote to leave the European Union has forced Britain, which has negotiated its trade deals through the EU for decades, to rethink ties with the rest of the world, but striking new deals may prove hard while its EU relationship is in flux.
British officials have floated the idea of free trade deals with countries including China, India, Canada and the United States once Britain formally leaves the EU.
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Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang, asked at a regular news briefing what China's position was on a free trade agreement with Britain, gave a positive signal.
"China is willing to proactively develop trade and business cooperation, has an open attitude toward discussing and signing a free trade agreement with Britain, and is willing to study this with Britain," Shen said, without elaborating.
The two countries like to talk about the "golden era" of relations, but ties have been tested by new Prime Minister Theresa May's decision last week to review a major nuclear power plant that China is supposed to partly invest in.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)