THE Jardine group says the current Sino-British row over Hong Kong will not harm Britain's business interests, despite the fact one of its companies has had to close more than half of its mainland offices. Jardines director Sir Charles Powell's comment comes after China warned that Britain was likely to suffer financially from the political row. ''I see no reason why it should affect Britain's business interests at all,'' Sir Charles said as he arrived in Hong Kong for a regular quarterly meeting of the group yesterday. Sir Charles said the closing of some mainland offices of Jardine Transport Services China (JTSC) was purely a business decision and rejected the idea of China's intervention or licensing problems. Jardines sources had said earlier restructuring plans were being drawn up for JTSC after officials in eight cities across China, including Beijing, told the company its licence allowed only one office in each city. Sir Charles denied the decision was due to any pressure from China and said: ''The business in China is losing money and we need to rationalise it.'' He added that JTSC, which handles sea and air cargo from 19 offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Nanjing, Dalian, Hangzhou and Tianjin, formed only a small part of Jardine Pacific, the group's trading arm. Sir Charles said the group last year held good discussions with Chinese officials who had emphasised to them the importance to separate economic and political matters. ''So far, our trade with China is still progressing utterly normally.'' However, he declined to comment on the progress of the Sino-British row or say if Jardines still supported Governor Chris Patten's political reform package. But in Beijing, an official newspaper warned yesterday that Britain was likely to be the next country frozen out of lucrative contracts in China for political reasons, after France had restored good relations with Beijing. ''Bilateral economic and trade relations can hardly escape damage from an un-cooperative and unfriendly Britain,'' the China Daily Business Weekly quoted a high-level trade official, Tong Jiemin, as saying. The paper said unidentified analysts had expressed worries that ''Britain could follow the example of France, whose trade with China was set back by political skirmishes''. France estimates it lost more than a billion dollars worth of business with China during the past year because of the Chinese Government's anger over France's decision to sell warplanes to Taiwan. France and China mended the rift last week with a French pledge to make the sale its last. China is angry with Britain because of its efforts to increase democracy in Hong Kong under Mr Patten's political reform package for which Jardines last year expressed support.