Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hand with British Prime Minister Theresa May before their meeting at the West Lake State House in Hangzhou. Photo: AFP / Etienne Oliveau

China and the UK are planning to assess the potential for a bond-trading link that would represent a major step to opening up the world’s largest emerging debt market, Bloomberg is reporting, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Officials from the two countries are set to meet later this week for bilateral economic talks, and the sources said the two governments have already agreed to form a working group on the matter.

The development comes after a bond-connect with Hong Kong launched in July, allowing foreign investors access to onshore Chinese debt. A stock connect between London and Shanghai has also been in planning stages for more than two years, though it has yet to open.

“The UK has a huge amount of expertise to offer abroad and is one of the best places in the world to do business, so we look forward to productive talks which build on the progress made at previous dialogues,” a statement from the Treasury in London was quoted as saying.

China’s central bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Also on the docket for the bilateral talks is consideration of a joint-venture fund for investments in China’s signature Belt and Road Initiative, according to the sources.