Trump quarrels infuse tense G20 summit

President Donald Trump meets with Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington

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With nationalist sentiments rising in multiple countries, the G20 is being forced to questions how to deal with trade tensions that have caused disturbances in the global market.

The two-day summit beginning today is supposed to focus on development, infrastructure and food security, but those seemed largely an afterthought amid soured US-European relations and as the United States, Mexico and Canada hammered out the final language of a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement expected to be signed today.

If that was created to soothe Trump, Xi more generally urged his fellow G20 leaders "to stick to openness" and to "steer (the) world economy responsibly", Xinhua reported. "We call on all members to oppose such WTO-inconsistent measures, stand by their commitments undertaken in the WTO". Trump has threatened fresh tariffs and set a January deadline for raising the existing ones from 10% to 25% on a range of goods. United States stocks closed slightly higher on Friday on market hopes that a compromise could be reached by the two leaders.

The assets most sensitive to the trade outcome are likely to be the renminbi and equities, Goldman Sachs said.

"We're working very hard".

Trump himself has cast the meeting as a do-or-die encounter that will either result in a deal or an escalation in the trade war. I think they want to.

And the deal: "which we think is unlikely in the near term, would involve complete rollback of the current tariffs".

'In the past they've sought to take a fairly orthodox approach. what we've seen more recently you wouldn't describe as orthodox, but that doesn't mean the objective isn't the same, ' Mr Morrison said.

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

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"This has been an unprecedentedly long drafting", said Russia's sherpa, Svetlana Lukash.

Earlier this month, officials from countries attending a major Asia-Pacific summit failed to issue a joint statement for the first time after the US delegation clashed with China over trade and security.

A White House official said that Trump sees a "good possibility" for a deal to defuse the trade frictions, as Washington demands greater market access and protections for intellectual property by Beijing.

European Council President Donald Tusk urged G-20 leaders to discuss "trade wars, the tragic situation in Syria and Yemen, and Russian aggression in Ukraine".

Chinese President Xi Jinping rallied developing nation leaders in attendance on Friday to condemn protectionism and laud the global rules-based order ahead of his highly anticipated dinner with US President Donald Trump on Saturday night. Trump cited the recent incident between the Ukrainian Navy and the Russian Coast Guard as the reason, while Moscow doubted his true motives.

Putin jetted into Buenos Aires Friday morning, and the Kremlin said it "regrets" Trump's decision to scrap the meeting.

A Kremlin spokesman said Putin was ready to continue talks with Trump.

Also looming large amid dozens of bilateral meetings in Buenos Aires: the gruesome slaying of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia's Istanbul consulate and how the Saudi crown prince, who is alleged to have ordered the killing, is received by world leaders.

Saudi Arabia has denied that bin Salman played a role, but some leaders may be cool toward him to avoid seeming to legitimize a man who US intelligence agencies concluded ordered the killing.

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