G20 cuts pledges to 'fight protectionism' amid US-China trade war

Trump, Xi Agree On Tariff Cease-Fire, As Trade Talks Continue

Trump, Xi Agree On Tariff Cease-Fire, As Trade Talks Continue

US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping held a high-stakes dinner yesterday to try to pull the world's top two economies from the brink of a full-fledged trade war.

President Donald Trump took his first step back in his months-long confrontation with China on Saturday, agreeing to cancel a planned January 1 tariff increase on Chinese products in return for purchases of what the White House called a "very substantial" amount of American farm, energy and industrial goods.

The White House called the meeting "highly successful", saying the US will leave existing tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods at 10 percent and refrain from raising that rate to 25 percent as planned on January 1. "If at the end of this period of time, the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10 percent tariffs will be raised to 25 percent". Wang Shouwen, China's vice minister of commerce, said both sides will step up negotiations on eliminating the 10 percent tariff, according to Chinese state media outlet China Daily. "It was the weakest communique we've ever seen from the G20", he told AFP, contrasting the group's posture now in the Trump era to its sense of common objective when the leaders first met 10 years ago in the midst of a financial crisis.

"It is the first time in our country's history that so many world leaders have set foot in Argentina at the same time", said Macri from the Costa Salguero in the northern area of the Argentine capital, where G-20 leaders meet, Xinhua reported.

Before the dinner of grilled sirloin, red onions, goat ricotta and dates, Trump told reporters that "we'll be discussing trade and I think at some point we are going to end up doing something that is great for China and great for the United States". If they can't, the higher USA tariffs will go into effect on the $200 billion in Chinese imports.

"This was an fantastic and productive meeting with unlimited possibilities for both the United States and China", Trump said in a statement issued from Air Force One as he returned to Washington.

The president also has threatened to extend the tariffs to everything that the US imports from China, which would involve an additional $267 billion in goods.

On Air Force One, Trump told reporters he would "absolutely consider it and probably" accept such a measure.

The meeting with Xi comes after a victory for Mr. Trump on trade. But he postponed a press conference, which was scheduled to follow a summit meeting, until after the funeral of former President George H.W. Bush, who died at age 94 on Friday.

China also agreed to label the opioid fentanyl a controlled substance, which the White House called "a wonderful humanitarian gesture".

Beyond the trade deficit that occupies much of Trump's attention, the US has a long list of grievances it wants to address with Beijing in any upcoming negotiations.

But on climate change, the United States once again marked its differences with the rest of the G20 by reiterating in the statement its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and its commitment to using all energy sources.

As per an earlier statement from the White House, the USA leader also said China would now look to buy from the US a "tremendous amount of agricultural and other products", in a bid to address the one way flow of trade.

The U.S. and China also made progress on the regulation of fentanyl, which is 50 times more powerful than heroin.

Many major business leaders in both the United States and China had hoped for some sort of truce or partial deal in what is seen as an escalating trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.

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