Brexit Britain battles for trade deals at G20


Prime minister Theresa May has named six G20 countries interested in opening trade talks with the UK including China.

Despite warnings from the US and Japan against trading with post-Brexit Britain, May confirmed that India, Mexico, South Korea, Singapore, China and Australia are interested in opening discussions about improving free trade with the UK.

May used her closing speech at the summit to promote post-Brexit Britain as a “bold, outward-looking nation” with “the second fastest growing major economy in the world last year” that has set its “ambition to become the global leader in free trade”.

“The leaders from India, Mexico, South Korea and Singapore said that they would welcome talks on removing the barriers to trade between our countries,” said May. “And the Australian trade minister will visit the UK this week to take part in exploratory discussions on the shape of a UK-Australia trade deal.”

May has also confirmed to chair a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Brexit and International trade to discuss “an ambitious trade strategy”.

May has remained optimistic despite US President Obama’s remarks that Britain would have to go to the “back of the queue” for trade deals with the US and that the EU would remain the priority.

However, he insisted that the “very special relationship” between Britain and the US “will not simply endure, but will continue to grow stronger with time” and that they will do everything possible to avoid the “uravelling” of a “very strong and robust economic relationship”.

A warning letter also addressed to the UK from the Japanese government stating that Japanese companies based in the UK want the Brexit negotiations to preserve, not only the EU customs union and single market, but also the free flow of workers between the EU and the UK if they are to remain based here.

“There are numerous Japanese businesses operating in Europe, which have created 440,000 jobs. A considerable number of these firms are concentrated in the UK,” reads the letter.

“Nearly half of Japanese direct investment intended for the EU in 2015 flowed to the UK. We strongly request that the UK will consider this fact seriously and respond in a responsible manner to minimise any harmful effects on these businesses.”

The letter goes on to threaten the removal of Japanese “operations from the UK to exiting establishments in the EU” and includes a list of concerns and demands despite May not having revealed anything more about Britain’s Brexit strategy than ‘Brexit means Brexit’.

Amidst the controversy surrounding the review of the Chinese investment in the proposed nuclear power plant in Somerset, Hinkley Point C, the Chinese President Xi Jinping assured May that China was willing to work with Britain to lift their partnership to a “higher level” and that he would “show patience” about the government’s major projects.

Xi added that he was “open to a bilateral trade arrangement” with Britain and looked forward to a “golden era” of trade between the two nations.

The G20 summit, held this year in Hangzhou, China, is formed by the leaders of the world’s most significant economies and first met during the financial crisis of 2008 to solve the financial issues faced by the global economy. The meetings now also address wider international issues such as climate change and terrorism.

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