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UK, China to accelerate work on stock connect program

China and the U.K. have agreed to expedite the introduction of a London-Shanghai stock exchange connect program, which will allow investors in each country to trade shares listed on the other's stock exchange, Reuters reported, citing U.K. Chancellor Philip Hammond.

The two countries are also discussing the possibility of connecting their bond markets, Hammond said during an official visit to China.

"We have agreed to accelerate the final preparations for the London-Shanghai stock connect initiative and we've agreed to commence feasibility studies for a U.K.-China bond connect and for mutual recognition of funds between the two jurisdictions," the minister said.

Talks on a stock linkage scheme between the two countries began two years ago, Reuters said. The stock connect program will follow the blueprint of a similar system for the Hong Kong and Shanghai exchanges.

The initiative is part of a cooperation agreement between China and the U.K. that also includes efforts such as spurring banks to increase their activity in the other country, promoting cross-border yuan business, cooperating on ultralow-emission vehicles and backing the yuan as a settlement currency.