British Prime Minister Theresa May is meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on a visit aimed at mapping out new trading arrangements following Britain's departure from the European Union.

The meeting in Beijing on Thursday came a day after May called for expanding the "global strategic partnership" between the two countries. May said business deals worth more than 9 billion pounds ($13 billion) will be announced before her visit ends Friday.

Bolstering ties with China became more urgent after Britain voted in 2016 to leave the EU, compelling it to forge new trade agreements outside of the 28-nation bloc.

British exports to China are up 60 percent since 2010, and China is expected to be one of the U.K.'s biggest foreign investors by 2020.