G-20 summit begins in Argentina amid big-power tensions

Saudi prince in Argentina as G20 summit tensions brew
G20 Summit: Everything You Need To Know

02 December, 2018

The group of 20 accounts for 85% of the world's GDP and two-thirds of its population.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders from the BRICS group of leading emerging economies, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, all called for an opening of global trade and a strengthening of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

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.

Chinese and U.S. officials negotiating easing the trade tensions were making progress on Friday at a Group of 20 summit in Argentina, a Chinese official said.

The statement says 19 of the members reiterated their commitment to the Paris climate accord but the U.S. reiterates its decision to withdraw. "We ratify the concern of everyone over climate change", Macri said.

Fissures on trade, climate change and Ukraine divided world leaders Friday as US President Donald Trump came under sustained fire and Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler came in from the cold at G20 talks.

"This is a big headwind for the USA consumer", he said.

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

A Chinese foreign ministry official in Buenos Aires said there were signs of increasing consensus ahead of the discussions, although differences remained, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile Wang Xiaolong, director general of the Foreign Ministry's department of global economic affairs, said negotiations between Chinese and United States officials were making some progress.

Ahead of the G20 Mr Trump told USA media he expected to go ahead with plans to raise tariffs on $200bn of Chinese goods - first introduced in September - to 25% (up from 10%) starting in January 2019.

Host president, Argentina's Mauricio Macri, said the solution was "dialogue, dialogue and dialogue" and called for a clear message of shared responsibility. It also notes a recent United Nations report that warned damage from global warming will be much worse than previously feared, and expresses support for an upcoming United Nations climate meeting in Poland meant to nail down how countries will meet promises made in the Paris accord.

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

She issued the statement at the end of the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires.

A 3.8-magnitude natural disaster has struck 33 kilometres south of Buenos Aires, Argentina where several world leaders including Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have gathered for the G20 summit.

With Argentina at the helm this year, the two-day global forum is set to focus on the future of work, infrastructure for development and a sustainable food future.

The US is one of 147 Paris Agreement signatories, and would be the first to back out. -China trade dispute to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were due to meet later Saturday after the summit's close.

Highlighting the deep rifts within the G20, European Council President Donald Tusk said the European Union would extend its economic sanctions on Moscow next month, after Russian ships fired on Ukrainian ones in the Sea of Azov last week, seizing the boats and sailors.

"I will inevitably have the opportunity to discuss it with the Saudi Crown Prince on the sidelines of the G-20", Mr Macron said at a joint press conference in Buenos Aires on Thursday. According to Reuters, audio caught bin Salman telling Macron not to worry to which Macron replied, "I am anxious".

Saudia Arabia has denied that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman played a role in Khashoggi's gruesome slaying.

President Donald Trump is threatening to impose new tariffs on imported cars again.

Bin Salman has been at the center of the global spotlight over whether he is responsible for Khashoggi's murder.

Mr Trump has branded the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, "the biggest trade deal in the United States history".

"If they don't shape up, I would withdraw from the WTO", he told Bloomberg News in August, adding that the agreement establishing it was "the single worst trade deal ever made".

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