International Relations and Defence Committee
The UK and China’s security and trade relationship: A strategic void

1st Report of Session 2021-22 - published 10 September 2021 - HL Paper 62



Chapter 1: Introduction

Figure 1: Map of China and its immediate neighbours

Background to the UK-China relationship

Box 1: UK-China relations timeline

Global Britain and the Integrated Review

Our inquiry

This report

Chapter 2: The UK’s approach since 2010

The ‘golden era’

Box 2: The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

2016 onwards

The current Government’s approach

The Integrated Review

Box 3: The Indo-Pacific region

Consistency of strategy towards China

Chapter 3: China’s position and outlook

The rise of China and Chinese foreign policy

Priorities of the Communist Party of China

Chinese foreign policy

China’s approach to national security

National security policy

Threat perceptions

China’s economic policy under Xi Jinping

Chinese approach to global governance

The Belt and Road Initiative and Digital Silk Road

Figure 2: Map of the Belt and Road Initiative

The place of the United Kingdom

Chapter 4: The UK’s partners and allies

The United States

A new Cold War?

US-China trade war

Co-operation with partners and allies

Box 4: Quadrilateral Security Dialogue

Near neighbours of China





Regional and international organisations

The European Union

Multilateral formats of co-operation

Chapter 5: Security

Traditional security challenges

Maritime security

Formal alliances

Box 5: The Five Power Defence Arrangements

Cybersecurity and technology

Non-traditional security challenges

The UK’s threat assessment of China

China as a “systemic competitor”

Co-operation with allies

Areas of co-operation with China

Climate change

Scale of resources

Chapter 6: Current scale and nature of trade and investment

Figure 3: UK trade with China as a percentage of total trade (goods and services), 1999–2019

Table 1: UK-China product trade comparisons 2019

Impact of Brexit

Opportunities for increased trade and investment

Barriers to increased trade and investment

Competition with state-owned enterprises

Intellectual property and forced technology transfer

Deterioration of relationship

Lack of a China strategy

Chapter 7: Future of trade and investment

A future trade or investment agreement

Box 6: Parliamentary opposition to a trade agreement with China

Lessons from the EU and US

EU and China

US and China

Multilateral engagement

Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership

World Trade Organization

Risks associated with economic engagement

Chinese investment in the UK

Chinese involvement in British universities

Dependency and supply chain vulnerabilities

Balancing economic relations with the UK’s values

Chapter 8: Key strategic themes

Summary of conclusions and recommendations

Appendix 1: List of Members and declarations of interest

Appendix 2: List of witnesses

Appendix 3: Call for evidence

Evidence is published online at: and available for inspection at the Parliamentary Archives (020 7219 3074).

Q in footnotes refers to a question in oral evidence.

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