— Internet News

Australian PM arrives in UK for G7 summit

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has arrived in the United Kingdom as a representative of four guest countries invited to the G7 summit.

“This is a significant place for Australia to be today as we touch down here in the United Kingdom to join the G7-plus dialogue,” Mr. Morrison said after arriving at RAF airport Brize Norton on Friday morning (Friday evening AEST) after Nine News reported heavy fog canceled plans for him to land at a Cornwall airport.

“This is the third occasion that we’ve had the privilege to be invited to be part of these discussions, and there is a lot on this agenda for Australia,” he said.

The G7 group of wealthy democracies – the UK, United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan – have invited the leaders of Australia, South Korea, South Africa, and India to participate.

“There has never been a more important time for Australia to sit around such a table,” Mr Morrison said.

“Dealing with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recession that it has caused, and the recovery that we are building, particularly at home in Australia, with our economy being bigger today than before the pandemic hit.”

He said the summit would help ensure “the rules-based order that protects our trade but also our seas and the way that countries can live and work together in a positive way all around the world”.

Australia is also on the cusp of inking a free trade deal with the UK, with officials hoping to advance progress as Mr. Morrison meets UK PM Boris Johnson after the G7 concludes on Sunday.

G7 summit

Farmers’ access to Britain has been a key sticking point in negotiations with UK agriculture groups worried about Australian beef and lamb flooding the market.

Australia has rubbished the claim, while the National Farmers’ Federation estimates 0.15 percent of all beef exports go to the UK. Finance Minister Simon Birmingham, who launched negotiations when he held the trade portfolio, signaled a deal was close.

“We are very close to an in-principle agreement around the terms of a free trade agreement between Australia and the United Kingdom being settled,” he told Sky News on Friday.

Senator Birmingham said Australia viewed agricultural market access as crucial to any trade deal.

“What we’re looking for there is to have as open a market as is possible for Australian goods to enter as free from tariffs and as free from quotas,” he said.

At the G7 summit, Mr. Morrison will sit down with other world leaders and attend sessions on health, the economy, and climate change throughout the weekend.

He is expected to meet US President Joe Biden, Japanese leader Yoshihide Suga, and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in.

While Mr. Morrison is not expected to make any new commitments on climate, Australia is facing calls to support carbon tariffs on emissions-intensive imports.

However, the prime minister considers any carbon tariff against Australia’s national interest.

Mr. Morrison is keen to focus on preparedness for future pandemics, business-led growth, free and fair trade, and the international rules-based order.

The prime minister held a face-to-face meeting with Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong before the conference. Singapore is expected to be the second country after New Zealand to establish a quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia, but a new arrangement remains months away.

The Singaporean prime minister indicated the travel bubble would not be approved until most populations in both countries had been vaccinated. Australia lags behind Singapore in the vaccination process, having fully immunized less than three percent of the adult population. Just under half the 4.7 million people in Singapore have been fully vaccinated with both doses.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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