'Good signs' on US-China trade, Trump says ahead of Xi talks

With a rise in nationalist sentiment in many countries, the G20 - which accounts for two-thirds of the global population - faces questions over its ability to deal with trade tensions, which have roiled global markets, and ease geo-political disputes.

The divisions among the world's leading economies were evident from the moment Argentina's president opened the summit Friday with a call for worldwide co-operation to solve the planet's problems.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has made clear it does not want to torpedo the longstanding U.S. relationship with Riyadh, however.

Meanwhile, two men under heavy criticism from the West lately - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - appeared to seek refuge in each other, bonding with a tough-guy hand grab as the leaders sat down around a huge round table for talks.

It was unlikely that the two countries would reach a full-blown resolution in Buenos Aires; the issues that divide them are just too hard. However, all eyes are on the Trump-Xi dinner meeting on Saturday, wherein the current trade tension is expected to dominate the proceedings.

An EU official said the language now being negotiated for the final statement of the G20 would also support reform of the multilateral trade body needed to improve its function. "The US should give its habitual winner-take-all approach to global relations the weekend off", it said.

US officials insist that the American economy is more resilient to the tumult than China's, but they remain anxious of the economic effects of a prolonged showdown - as Trump has made economic growth the benchmark by which he wants his administration judges. It represents part of a broader push by Trump to separate the USA from agreements and obligations that he believes do not serve national interests.

He pointed out a diminished trade deficit between the USA and Japan.

Asked about the European concerns, a USA official said progress was being made on the joint statement and the White House was "optimistic" about the document as a whole.

And huge differences remain on climate change, trade and the Khashoggi affair.

Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie said the recent establishment of more flights to the disputed islands was a positive development.

Trump said his predecessor's passing would prevent him holding a post-summit news conference scheduled for later Saturday, "out of respect" for the Bush family.

Saudi prince in Argentina as G20 summit tensions brew
US stands apart as G-20 summit stumbles on trade, climate

Erdoğan made the suggestion during an hour-long meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The US is one of 147 Paris Agreement signatories, and would be the first to back out.

Mnuchin's influence - cheered by investors - may be tempered by the presence of Peter Navarro, a noted China hawk who advises Trump on trade.

But he won a breakthrough with the signing of a new trade pact for North America and, having ignited a trade war with China, touted "good signs" ahead of a dinner today with President Xi Jinping. European Council President Donald Tusk said the European Union would extend its economic sanctions on Moscow this month after Russian ships fired last week on Ukrainian vessels in the Sea of Azov, seizing the boats and sailors.

There could also be confrontation between the American and Putin over the escalating confrontation in Ukraine, which caused Trump to cancel a planned meeting with Putin.

President Emmanuel Macron of France had a conversation with the crown prince, French officials said in media reports. A weaker yuan lessens the impact of US tariffs on Chinese exporters.

While Turkey hasn't explicitly named MBS, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the murder was ordered at the highest level of Saudi leadership, though not by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

In the wake of the meeting between Macri and Trump, the finance and energy ministries and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin signed an agreement to foster cooperation and identify "trade and investment opportunities" in the energy sector, the local publication added.

Ms O'Neil said she anticipates that to be "quite smooth" in Mexico and Canada, but passage could be more complicated in the United States after midterm elections flipped the House of Representatives, meaning the next speaker could be Democratic Representative Nancy Pelosi.

Trump argues that the massive balance of trade in China's favour is not sustainable for the American economy.

On Thursday, he met Buenos Aires Mayor Horaci Rodriguez Larreta and welcomed the growing ties between Singapore and the Argentinian capital.

  • Anthony Vega