Trump hints at possible China deal at G20 summit

The trade war between the US and China will be a key focus at the G20 summit in Argentina. Trump is open to talks.
Photo: Andy Wong/AP
Photo: Andy Wong/AP

The first G20 summit in South America will also become one of the most significant in the group's history.

Argentina, which will host the next two days of meetings between state leaders from the world's 19 largest economies and the EU, has published an agenda centered around three key themes.

Unofficially, it will focus on the trade conflict between the US and China, but also between the US and EU, says the Danish Confederation of Industry (DI) ahead of the meeting which begins Friday afternoon CET time in Buenos Aires.

"Unofficially the meeting is about the US' ongoing trade war with China and the EU," says Peter Thagesen, deputy director at DI, in a comment ahead of the meeting.

"The trade war between China and the US has begun to hurt in both camps, increasing hopes that Xi Jinping and Donald Trump will talk their way to a solution," he says.

According to US news agency Bloomberg News Trumo suggested before his trip to Argentina that talks could be on the cards with China.

"I think we're very close to doing something with China but I don't know that I want to do it. Because what we have right now is billions and billions of dollars coming into the United States in the form of tariffs or taxes, so I really don't know."

"I will tell you that I think China wants to make a deal, I'm hoping to make it a deal but, frankly, I like the deal we have right now," he added.

Bloomberg reports that for several weeks US and Chinese officials have been working on a draft agreement so it could potentially be presented by Trump and China's president Xi after a planned dinner between the two Saturday.

Sources with an insight into the talks say to Bloomberg that there is talk of a "truce where the US will delay increased tariffs" on Chinese goods in exchange for "Chinese concessions" within trade.

As late as Wednesday, the US trade representative Robert Lighthizer has otherwised fired off sharp criticism of China's trade policy.

During Trump's time as president, the US has applied tariffs to Chinese goods on an ongoing basis. Currently, USD 250 million worth of imports from China have been hit by extra tariffs.

China has responded by increasing the tariffs on US goods to a value of USD 110 billion.

English Edit: Lena Rutkowski

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