Increasing global headwinds, threats to security and sharpening trade tensions will shape the G7 leaders’ meeting in France where Scott Morrison represents Australia as a special invited guest.
“All of these developments have implications for our national interests,” the prime minister said in a statement on Saturday as he ended his official visit to Vietnam and heads to France as a guest of the G7.
“This forum will be an important opportunity to listen and to put forward Australia’s views on these global challenges.”
It is the first time Australia has been invited to attend the G7 – an economic grouping made up of the US, Japan, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Canada.
Mr Morrison will take part in two special sessions of the forum on Monday but will seize the opportunity of being in the same place as the leaders of these countries and other special invitees to hold several one-on-one talks.
In particular, he plans to use meetings with European leaders to highlight the importance of a commercially meaningful Australia-European Union free trade agreement.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham recently released a list of names of 172 foods and 236 spirits the European Union wants protected under a trade deal, including the cheeses feta, gruyere and gorgonzola, and grappa and ouzo.
Mr Morrison will also discuss a planned post-Brexit trade agreement with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
He is also due to meet Donald Trump amid the escalating US trade war with China and mounting tensions in the Persian Gulf.
“Nobody wins from the sort of conflict we’re seeing between the Chinese and the Americans,” shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers told reporters in Brisbane.
As well, Mr Morrison is expected to hold bilateral talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has also been invited to the gathering.
One topic added to the G7 agenda at the last minute is the wildfires raging in Brazil’s Amazon rainforests, with Mr Macron describing it as an “international crisis” and the US Trump administration saying it was deeply concerned.
Liberal senator Paul Scarr said what is happening in the Amazon is a great concern having seen the footage of the illegal burn off.
“There is an 84 per cent increase in the burn off on the Amazon year-on–year from last year … so that”s a great concern for the world,” he told ABC News.
“I’m sure that’s going to be a major topic of discussion at the G7 meeting.”
Mr Morrison will take the opportunity while in Biarritz to work with leaders and industry representatives who share his commitment to tackling terrorist and extremist exploitation of the internet.
“I am keen to build on the progress made on this issue at the recent G20 meeting in Osaka – progress driven by Australia on the world stage,” he said.