As this G20 summit proves, we are aggravating key partnersby Alex Dean / September 5, 2016 / Leave a comment
Read more: Good news on the economy—for now
Today is the second, and final, day of this year’s G20 summit—a forum for the leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies. It is also the first such summit since Britain voted to “Leave” the European Union. It comes in the middle of one of the first major releases of economic data since the vote—and the news on that front has been better than expected. News from the G20, however, gives us less to celebrate about. It is this second set of information that tells us about Britain’s long-term prospects, and they are gloomy.
Theresa May arrived at the summit in Hangzhou, China, hoping to convince her counterparts that Britain is “open for business” despite the Brexit vote in June. This has not gone to plan.
On the first day of the meeting, May received a rebuff from Barack Obama. The US President reiterated the position he made clear in the run-up to the vote on 23rd June, when he said that post-Brexit Britain would be “at the back of the queue” when it comes to trade deals with the US.
“We are going to do everything we can to make sure the consequences of the decision don’t end up unravelling what is already a very strong and robust economic relationship,” he said on Sunday. “But first things first. The first task is figuring out what Brexit means with respect to Europe. And our first task is making sure we go forward on TTIP negotiations in which we have already invested a lot of time and effort.”
This snub, though disappointing, was arguably to be expected. The rebuff from Japan was less so. In advance of the G20 summit a government task force from the country issued an unprecedented 15-page report explaining that Japanese corporations could leave the UK en masse unless Britain’s access to the EU’s Single Market is maintained. The report from Tokyo reads: “In light of the fact that a number of Japanese businesses, invited by the…