December 1, 2018 / 1:13 PM / 11 days ago

Japan's Abe urges UK PM May to avoid 'no deal' Brexit

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands during a bilateral meeting at the Group 20 summit, in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 1, 2018. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci/Pool

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday urged British Prime Minster Theresa May to ensure stability as Britain leaves the European Union and asked her to do what she could to avoid a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

May secured an agreement with European Union leaders on Nov 25 that would see Britain leave the bloc on March 29 with continued close trade ties, but the odds look stacked against her getting it through a deeply divided British parliament.

The deal has been criticised from among May’s Conservative lawmakers both by supporters of a cleaner break with the EU and those who want to keep closer ties. Opposition parties and a small Northern Irish party which props up May’s minority government have said they plan to reject the deal when parliament votes on it on Dec. 11.

At a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Argentina, Abe praised May for reaching a deal with the EU.

“Also, I would like to once again ask for your support to avoid no deal as well as to ensure transparency, predictability as well as legal stability in the Brexit process,” he added, speaking through a translator.

May has warned British lawmakers that if they reject the agreement, Britain could leave the EU with no deal, a step which businesses fear could disrupt their supply chains.

May told Abe the agreement offered “a good deal for businesses in the UK, including the many Japanese companies who have made significant investment into the UK and who will be able to continue, on the basis of our deal, to trade well with the European Union from the UK”.

Both leaders said they looked forward to working more closely together on trade in the future, including the possibility of Britain joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Daniel Flynn, Louise Heavens and Peter Graff

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