U.S., Australia pledge stronger ties on economy

Washington – U.S. President Donald Trump met on Friday in Washington with visiting Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The official agenda: closer economic and security relations between the two countries.

In a joint press conference, Trump applauded a century-long bilateral relationship between the two allies, including cooperation in counter-terrorism, trade and immigration.

Turnbull said the meeting will help generate jobs for both sides.

He said Australian and U.S. companies are working together on energy production and infrastructure development.

Along with Turnbull came a large group of company heads. During the meeting at the White House, Turnbull expressed interest in investing Australia’s public pension funds in U.S. infrastructure, according to a White House statement.

Defense cooperation was another focus of the two leaders’ talks, said the White House, citing Australia as being among the top 10 purchasers of U.S.-sourced defense equipment.

Trump and Turnbull also discussed further anti-terrorism cooperation in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

The two leaders haven’t always seen eye to eye since Trump took office last year. Trump reportedly engaged in a combative call with Turnbull over refugee issues one week after his inauguration, pressing the latter to make concessions on receiving refugees.

Turnbull insisted that both countries should abide by their agreement, making Trump snap toward the end of the call.