G20 summit: Malcolm Turnbull set to meet British PM Theresa May over first post-Brexit free trade deal
Speaking in Hangzhou yesterday, Turnbull said a New Australia-Britain trade deal was “absolutely” something that could happen in this term of government and the process was already well advanced.
“We have got things moving towards having a free-trade agreement with the UK,” he said, but cautioned that it would take years to finalise because Britain would remain in the EU for some time.
On her way to the summit, May told reporters Britain’s economy will suffer as a result of the decision to leave the EU despite signs in recent economic data that the impact has not been as severe as some predicted.
May told the BBC she would use the summit to begin talks with world leaders including US President Barack Obama, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over future trade deals. “I want to talk about how we can scope out what a trade deal and the negotiations on a trade deal would be like so that when the time comes, when we are able to sign those deals, we are able to do so,” she said.
Meanwhile, G20 leaders are also set to endorse a new set of rules to guide cross-border investment and new ways to help the world’s poorest nations.
The G20 summit will wrap up on Monday afternoon with the final communiqué released by .
It is understood the leaders will approve guidelines for governments working on reforming their cross-border investment policies, amid growing concerns populist parties are pressuring nations to economically “hide under the doona”, as Mr Turnbull described it on Sunday.
The principles, which will be non-binding, will “help foster an open, transparent” global environment for investment, according to officials close to the talks.
The leaders will also endorse a plan to help developing countries, especially in Africa, lift themselves out of poverty over the next decade and a half.
The prime minister will also meet with French President Francois Hollande, as Australia seeks to seal a trade agreement with the EU and works with France to deliver new submarines.
An overarching theme of the final communiqué will be committing all G20 members to monetary, fiscal and structural reforms to achieve solid and sustainable growth.
Under pressure from Europe, the United States and Australia, there is also expected to be a statement on excess capacity in the steel industry which requires “collective responses”.
Turnbull believes the overproduction and dumping of cheap steel is threatening the viability of the industry in Australia.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said on Sunday China must set up a mechanism to address its problem of industrial overcapacity, saying it was “unacceptable” the European steel industry had lost so many jobs in recent years.
“Overcapacity is a global problem but there is a particular Chinese element,” he said.
China produces half the world’s 1.6 billion tonnes of steel and has struggled to decrease its estimated 300 million tonne overcapacity, and rising prices have given companies there an incentive to boost production for export. President Xi says he wants the summit to move from being one dealing with crises to long-term economic leadership.
“The G20 should fully honour its commitments,” he told the opening session. The leaders held a working dinner on Sunday night followed by a grand gala directed by Zhang Yimou, the film director responsible for the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympics.