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UK finance minister "optimistic" U.S. and China will avoid trade war

LONDON, May 10 (Reuters) - British finance minister Philip Hammond said on Friday he was optimistic that the United States and China would step back from a trade war that would have a "very serious" negative effect on Britain and the world economy.

"I'm optimistic that in the end there will be a deal between China and the U.S. That's very important for us in the UK because our economy is a very open economy, so it's very exposed to what's happening elsewhere," he told broadcaster Sky News.

Hammond added that first-quarter GDP data released earlier in the day showed Britain was on track to meet official growth forecasts for 2019, even taking into account the effect of stockpiling by businesses ahead of Brexit. (Reporting by David Milliken and Kate Holton; editing by Michael Holden)