Theresa May in bid to boost post-Brexit trade with G20 meetings – The Guardian

Theresa May in bid to boost post-Brexit trade with G20 meetings – The Guardian

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Theresa May will meet Donald Trump on Saturday as part of a series of bilateral meetings with leaders at the G20 summit in Hamburg aimed at boosting the UK’s trade position after it leaves the European Union.

A UK official said that the meeting with Trump on Saturday morning would also see a focus on “progress with a post Brexit US-UK trade agreement”.

As well as seeing Trump, May will meet with the Turkish president, Recep Tayipp Erdoğan, and the prime ministers of Japan and India, Shinzo Abe and Narendra Modi.

The prime minister is making a point of reaching out beyond her European counterparts, with officials repeatedly stressing the need for strong economic relationships after Brexit at the summit.

“The PM said as we get ready to leave, Britain would be wanting to build on its trade agreements with countries outside the EU,” the UK official added.

With Trump, May will also discuss North Korea, and raise the question of the US decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement. The pair could also face some tension over free trade after May used a working lunch on the issue to warn that many citizens weren’t benefiting from growth across the world but taking a very different tone to the US president.

“That is why G20 needs to to further and faster – the answer cannot be to retreat, turn to protectionism or abandon trade,” she told the group. “In fact the answer must be to increase free trade because it is free trade that provides the best opportunity to driving global growth, it is free trade which combined with right domestic policies provides best opportunities to raise living standards.”

On Friday, May met President Xi of China for 30 minutes, in which she raised questions over North Korea and steel dumping, but also talked of a “golden era” of relations between the two countries.

A senior No 10 official said the session began with the president saying that Chinese investment into Britain had increased since the Brexit vote, and that was a sign of confidence in the country.

“He said that Brexit was a very big event for the world but that he believed a prosperous and stable and open UK and prosperous and stable and open EU would be positive for the world and that China would work to further promote its interests with Britain and with the European Union,” they said.

May said that as the UK got ready to leave the EU it wanted to build on trade agreements with other countries, including China. The official added: “The prime minister said because the countries have such a strong relationship they can discuss the areas in which they have differences.”

In particular, she talked about overproduction of steel, and said she wanted China to put more pressure on North Korea.

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