Published: Sat, December 01, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

President Trump meets with the leader of Argentina during G20 summit

President Trump meets with the leader of Argentina during G20 summit

The U.S. has imposed punitive tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese exports and has threatened to double that unless China offers concessions on trade and investment policies the U.S. regards as unfair. The two men beamed widely and clasped hands.

Xi and leaders from the BRICS group of leading emerging economies - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - called in a statement on Friday for open worldwide trade and a strengthening of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

A substantive deal between the United States and China could mark a major feat for the G20 summit, where expectations for collective action have been low.

Beijing hopes to persuade Trump to abandon plans to increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent in January, from 10 percent at present.

"Australia has always been a successful trading nation and that's how we will continue to ensure the prosperity for our people", Morrison told reporters after landing in Buenos Aires on Friday morning.

Joining other forecasters, economists at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development last week downgraded their outlook for global economic growth next year to 3.5 percent from a previous 3.7 percent.

It marks a rising trend of discord among G20 members.

A major issue that is hanging over the summit is the continued trade war between the United States and China.

While the Trump-Xi meeting took center-stage, many parallel geopolitical dramas were playing out on the meeting's sidelines.

The G20 is made up of the world's 19 biggest economies and the European Union.

Putin's attack, and similar criticism of Trump's isolationist stance by French President Emmanuel Macron, capped an incident-packed buildup to the G20 that included flare-ups over Ukraine and Saudi Arabia. The two leaders were seated in chairs next to each other and there were no formal delegations arranged on either side.

At the outset of his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Buenos Aires on Friday, Trump voiced optimism about the prospects of the planned U.S.

The Kremlin said it had not been notified and only learned about it from the tweet. Putin used the time set aside to meet with Trump to pow-wow with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A number of high-stakes bilateral meetings over the next two days are likely to be dominated by the trade war between the United States and China, Russian aggression in Ukraine, and the suspected involvement of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the slaying of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Describing Trump and Macri's closed-door meeting, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed that "the two leaders reiterated their shared commitment to face regional challenges such as Venezuela and China's predatory economic activity".

Trump said he might have a discussion with the Saudi leader during the summit, but so far they hadn't talked. For example, a draft says 19 of the participants agree on the importance of upholding the Paris climate accord, but the United States doesn't.

As the leaders sat down for the summit plenary, Russian President Vladimir Putin and bin Salman - both arriving at the meeting under a cloud - greeted each other with an enthusiastic, thumping handshake that resembled a high-five, and hearty laughter.

The summit marks a quick return to the global stage for the Prince Mohammed after the kingdom came under fire for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate.

"I believe in our capacity to make the spirit of dialogue and cooperation triumph", Macron said at a joint news conference with Macri, warning that if nations "close down", the alternative could be trade wars or armed conflict.

Meanwhile, oil markets anticipated a bilateral meeting between Putin and Prince Mohammed on Saturday for a sign that Russian Federation will participate in a production cut by the OPEC oil cartel next month.

A CNBC contributor on global trade says that "Peter at dinner is not a good sign" for any speedy resolution to the U.S.

That session will lead into the large gathering of the G20, where Trump will find himself face-to-face with the collection of global leaders he has sometimes rebuffed.

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