• Thomas Erichsen

The global trade system has in the recent years experienced two significant setbacks when it comes to the disruption of the free trade agenda, where two previous global frontrunners of the liberal approach of free trade changed their politics in order to become more nationalistic. The first setback could be experienced in the British referendum in 2016 which resulted in the Brexit and a never seen phenomena within the European Union, being disintegration. The other setback was when the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump was elected, resulting in global changes of American interest in multilateral cooperation, which started in 2018 where the US initiated the progress of imposing tariffs on nearly all of the US’ vital trade partners. Furthermore, the start of the biggest trade war in the world's history was started between the US and China, which only has been escalating. Some scholars have already been researching the events of the US-Sino trade war as well as the Brexit. However, these studies have often been focusing on external factors of the reasoning behind the Conduct of the two countries as well as how it has affected the global trading system and economies. However, this thesis will research China and the UK and look into both countries conduct towards one another with the two factors of Brexit and the US tariffs being the catalyst regarding the growing Chinese foreign direct investments in the British energy sector. The dissertation’s problem formulation stands as following: In the wake of the US tariffs and Brexit, how has the conduct between the UK and China been affecting their relations, regarding Chinese FDIs in the British energy sector?

In order to research the problem formulation, a qualitative case design was employed as a means of gaining a comprehensive look into the case in question to ensure that the findings were exhaustive and adequate. The behaviour between the two countries and how the Chinese FDIs have affected the UK and China’s relations will be examined through the two international relations theories; defensive realism and liberalism, which in this thesis will pose as the analysis. Afterwards, a discussion will take form and discuss which theory is most applicable regarding the two countries conduct towards one another and how the Chinese FDIs in the British energy sector has affected their relations. These steps all lead up to the conclusion, which in this case is resulting in that the US tariffs and Brexit in some way have improved the relations between the UK and China. The improvement is because both countries political and economical has been pushed into finding other alternatives in order to compensate for the loss of the US trade market and the UK, the European countries due to the Brexit. However, the countries are standing in different positions, where the UK can be regarded to have a greater need for Chinese investments to strengthen their economy. China may endeavour for the political factors as well as the economical in order to strengthen their position in a stable country in Europe, which may improve their standing in other European countries in the future. No matter what the Chinese investments in the British energy sector can be regarded as an opportunity for the countries to increase future cooperation and by that avoid conflict and prosper economically.
SpecialisationChina and International Relations
Publication date15 May 2019
Number of pages66
External collaboratorUniversity of International Relations
Wei-Guo Chen chenwg@uir.edu.cn
ID: 303637894