Trump, Xi agree to temporary truce on trade


President Trump and the other leaders of the Group of 20 agreed Saturday to a joint statement that included support for trade reforms, which was a chief US objective for the summit.

Trump has already imposed new tariffs on about $250 billion worth of Chinese imports, roughly half of all goods China imports to the US every year.

According to Wang, the two presidents reached important common understanding and the meeting certainly has "charted the course for China-US relations in some time to come". They spoke for around two and a half hours and the discussion ended with Trump agreeing to hold off on raising existing tariffs on $200billion pending new talks.

There was no immediate U.S. confirmation of the outcome of the talks, but Chinese state TV said: "No additional tariffs will be imposed after January 1, and negotiations between the two sides will continue". The 10% tariffs have been in place since September, and there's been no meaningful progress on talks since then.

China President Xi Jinping (left) and US President Donald Trump (right) at a dinner at the end of the G20 Leaders' Summit in Buenos Aires.

At the table, Trump announced his plane would fly to Houston, in the state of Texas, after the return of Air Force One from Argentina, to transport Bush's casket to Washington.

Trump agreed to hold off on plans to raise tariffs January 1 on $200 billion in Chinese goods. Trump had threatened to do that, and possibly add tariffs on $267 billion of imports, if there was no progress in the talks.

Ahead of what was seen as the most important meeting of USA and Chinese leaders in years, both sides said differences remained, and the outcome of the talks were uncertain.

"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.

Trump, as often in his diplomatic dealings, appears to consider his personal chemistry with Xi the most important factor in the success of the negotiations. The deal amounts to a ceasefire in the series of escalating, tit-for-tat tariffs the USA and China have imposed on each other's goods throughout the year. The world's two biggest economies have also increasingly been at odds over security in the Asia-Pacific region. The deadly synthetic opioid is responsible for tens of thousands of US drug deaths annually.

The two sides also agreed to enhance cooperation on law enforcement and combating illicit drugs, including the synthetic drug fentanyl, Wang said.

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The White House quoted Xi as saying he is "open to approving" Qualcomm's $44 billion takeover of NXP Semiconductors, which the American company had abandoned in July after failing to secure Chinese regulatory approvals.

President Trump stated: "This was an wonderful and productive meeting with unlimited possibilities for both the United States and China". But after a congenial dinner between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping Saturday night, both sides agreed to park further hostilities while they continue trying to sort out broader disagreements about their economic relationship.

G20 leaders have backed reforms to overhaul the World trade organization (WTO) that regulates global trade disputes.

Trump has thrown out the traditional United States playbook on free trade since his shock 2016 election, vowing to protect forgotten workers and put "America First".

A senior White House official stressed the importance of support for reforming the World Trade Organization, a top priority for Mr. Trump as he pursues get-tough trade policy on China and other countries.

Contrary to their treatment of the United States, the G20 leaders placed a requirement on China.

U.S. companies and consumers are bearing part of the cost of the USA tariffs on China by paying higher prices for goods, and many companies have hiked prices on imported goods.

Despite months of complaints by the United States and the USA imposing tariffs on about $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, Beijing "has not fundamentally alerted its unfair, unreasonable, and market-distorting practices", according to a report issued last week by Lighthizer. Numerous countries have filed litigation at the WTO to contest the levies.

The United States is unhappy with what it says is the WTO's failure to hold China to account for not opening up its economy as envisioned when China joined the body in 2001. The European Union is also pushing for reform at the WTO.

The final communique signed by all 20 member nations said 19 of them reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris climate accord. Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said Saturday that "trade tensions have begun to have a negative effect" and are increasing the risk that growth will disappoint. "China will be buying massive amounts of products from us".