German leader Angela Merkel has used a private meeting to ask Malcolm Turnbull how he got Donald Trump to agree to tariff exemptions on Australian steel.
The two leaders also made “significant progress” towards a free trade deal between the European Union and Australia.
Dr Merkel hosted Mr Turnbull in Berlin, after the prime minister gave a speech calling for Europe to lift its restrictions on Australian farming exports.
It’s understood the chancellor wanted to hear of Mr Turnbull’s experience dealing with President Trump, as the EU aims to avoid steel tariffs and extend a nuclear deal with Iran.
Dr Merkel also sought information on the Indo-Pacific region, China, and how best to stimulate trade in the area.
“Germany has always been in favour to meet Australia’s wish for a free trade agreement and I think we’ve made significant progress on the road towards that,” Ms Merkel told reporters in Berlin before Monday’s meeting.
Mr Turnbull said free trade was built on security, and he backed Germany’s stance on the war in Syria.
“We agree with you wholeheartedly on the need for a political solution in Syria,” he told reporters at a joint media conference.
“Russia and Iran must do more to bring to an end the horrific attacks by the Assad regime.”
France and Germany have been keeping up pressure on the United States not to pull out of a deal with Iran to limit its nuclear ambitions, and Mr Turnbull will meet with French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Tuesday to discuss the issue.
Mr Turnbull and Ms Merkel also spoke about North Korea’s nuclear program and the need for it to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
Earlier, Mr Turnbull gave a speech calling for the EU to lift its restrictions on Australian farming exports.
He said the lifting of trade barriers would open up new markets and jobs for Australian and European producers.
Mr Turnbull is due to speak to the European Union President Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday as he pushes for a free trade deal with Europe.
He will also go to France to open the Sir John Monash Centre ahead of Anzac Day on the Western Front.
Mr Turnbull will host French President Emmanuel Macron next month for a three-day trip during which they are expected to discuss an Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement.