Trump, Australia's Turnbull seek common ground on trade, China

14:50 | 26/02/2018 Cooperation

U.S. President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull held talks on February 23 at the White House where the two leaders sought to put aside previous tensions, but divisions on trade remained.

President Donald Trump and Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull finish a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House on Feb. 23, 2018 - Photo: Getty

Trump pulled the United States out of the original 12-member Trans-Pacific Partnership - which was backed by Turnbull - soon after taking office last year and he repeated his opposition to the deal during a joint press conference on Feb 23.

"The Trans-Pacific Partnership was not a good deal for us," Trump said, stressing that he would rejoin a deal that was better for the United States, but prefers bilateral deals over pacts involving many countries.

Trump has argued the trade deal would hurt U.S. workers.

Australia and the other remaining members of the pact published an amended version of the agreement this week and are expected to sign the new deal in March.

China was also the subject of the agenda of talks between two leaders.

Turnbull's visit to the White House followed tense interactions between the two leaders last year, when they clashed over a refugee swap deal.

But Trump praised the US-Australia ties last Friday as he said in brief public remarks at the Oval Office ahead of his meeting with the Australian prime minister: "The relationship we have with Australia is a terrific relationship and probably stronger now than ever before".

Turnbull told the news conference that he and Trump had agreed on new initiatives to deepen security and economic ties.

"We're seeking to expand transparent and competitive global energy markets, cooperating on high-quality infrastructure investment in the United States and in the region - we've spent a lot of time talking about infrastructure, especially urban infrastructure," Turnbull told reporters.

Theo Reuters