Australia’s Prime Minister has praised Theresa May for her ‘resilience and determination’ to see through Brexit and signalled a new trading relationship could be on the cards, as the second day of talks at the G20 got underway in Argentina.
Britain’s PM met Scott Morrison for face-to-face talks in Buenos Aires and hailed the ‘great relationship’ between the two countries as she looks for partners to help her deliver the promised trading benefits of Brexit.
But she also faced a warning from Japanese leader Shinzo Abe to avoid a no-deal exit amid fears from Japanese car manufacturers about a cliff-edge departure in March 2019.
Leaders will face tricky negotiations on the final day of the summit as President Donald Trump meets Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping amid threats of a trade war while leaders grapple with addressing climate change despite Mr Trump’s withdrawal from an international deal.
Prime Minister Theresa May, left, and Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison shake hands during a bilateral meeting at the G20 in Buenos Aires where they discussed Brexit and trade between the two countries
Australian PM Mr Morrison told Mrs May: ‘I think you’ve shown great resilience and great determination on one of the most vexed issues I think there is.’
He said: ‘I think you know you have our strong support in continuing to bring it to a good resolution.’
Referring to BAE Systems’ £20 billion contract to build new Australian naval frigates, Mr Morrison said: ‘Trade relationships and our opportunity to work together post-Brexit in a very important trade relationship.
‘We look forward to that, whether it’s on defence procurement at the moment where we have a very important procurement under way now with the British, that is proceeding very, very well.’
After shaking hands, Mrs May joked that the relationship was not always friendly when it came to sporting events, saying: ‘I should have worn my MCC scarf’.
Meanwhile Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged Mrs May to continue working to avoid a no-deal Brexit.
Major Japanese companies like Nissan and Honda are believed to be concerned about the possible impact of a no-deal EU withdrawal on their supply chains across Europe.
Britain’s PM met Scott Morrison for face-to-face talks (pictured) and hailed the ‘great relationship’ between the two countries while her Australian counterpart signalled a new trading relationship could be on the cards after Brexit
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, as world leaders grapple with issues including climate change, trade and the killing of Jamal Khashoggi
Meeting Mrs May for talks on the margins of the summit, Mr Abe said: ‘I would like to take this opportunity to express my tribute to your leadership in realising the Withdrawal Agreement as well as the EU’s agreement on the Political Declaration.
‘Also I would like to once again ask for your support to avoid no deal as well as to ensure transparency, predictability as well as legal stability in the Brexit process.’
Mrs May said the agreement she has reached with the EU ‘is a good deal for the UK, it is a good deal for businesses in the UK, including the many Japanese companies who have made significant investment into the UK and who will be able to continue on the basis of our deal to trade well with the European Union from the UK’.
European leaders said all-night talks at the summit had resulted in a possible ‘breakthrough’ on fixing the global trading system.
Countries are making progress on a final statement that will acknowledge problems with the World Trade Organization but commit to reforming it, amid fierce criticism from President Trump, EU officials said.
Mr Trump will meet the Chinese leader amid an escalating trade war, with new U.S. tariffs on China goods set to take effect a month from now.
France’s President Emmanuel Macron and South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa shake hands at the G20 today. Mr Macron is in Argentina while back home protesters clash with riot police on the Champs-Elysees in Paris
Vladimir Putin and his aide Yuri Ushakov walk together ahead of a meeting with Angela Merkel. Putin was among those to pay tribute to former U.S. President George Bush senior who died on Friday evening
The U.S. President has sought to use the gathering to make his own trade deals, signing a pact with Mexico and Canada to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.
One EU official told reporters that the G20’s final statement is likely to reflect 19 members supporting the Paris climate accord with the U.S. stating its opposition to it.
The American delegation is also said to have held up discussion of how to manage refugees and migrants, but that the final statement is expected to mention the need to manage migration on a global level.
Also looming large amid dozens of bilateral meetings in Buenos Aires was the gruesome slaying of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate.
Many countries suspect Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of having ordered the killing. The prince is at the summit but denies any knowledge of or involvement in Khashoggi’s death.
World leaders did have a brief moment of unity early on Sunday as tributes poured in for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush who died on Friday evening.
Mr Trump hailed his predecessor, saying he had ‘inspired Americans’ with his ‘essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family, and country’.
Vladimir Putin joined the tributes, saying: ‘A distinguished man has passed away. One who served his country for his entire life, with a weapon in his hands during wartime and in high office during peacetime.’