The United Kingdom's Belt and Road Initiative strategy after Brexit: Background Report

Author
Benjamin Barton
Content Type
Special Report
Institution
Asia Research Institute, University of Nottingham
Abstract
As China and President Xi Jinping signature foreign policy programme, the BRI has become in a very short space of the time one of the world’s largest and most active international infrastructure development drivers. The BRI is helping, in a significant manner, to meet the increasing demand for infrastructure development and upgrades in emerging markets – a trend that is unlikely to slow anytime time soon, especially given the initiative’s current importance to the Chinese government. For the British government (from here onwards ‘government’), although the UK is unlikely to be a prime destination for BRI projects (for now), the BRI stakes are high. Not only do BRI projects impact the economic wellbeing of a number of countries of strategic importance to the UK, but the government cannot remain passive in the emerging geopolitical context of infrastructure development and financing rivalry. In addition, in light of its relative post-Brexit geopolitical isolation, the government needs to adopt a firm and unequivocal political stance in dealing with its Chinese counterpart should the UK itself become the recipient of BRI projects.
Topic
Economics, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics, Brexit, Multilateralism, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
Political Geography
China, United Kingdom, Asia