G20: Xi, Trump meet amid heightened trade tensions

Buenos Aires: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday (local time) attended a highly-anticipated dinner with his United States counterpart Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Argentina. The meet was the two leaders’ first in 2018, wherein an escalating trade war between their countries threatens to disrupt the global economy.

The meeting was agreed to by the two leaders after Trump initiated a telephonic conversation last month, Xinhua reported.

During the conversation, Xi stressed his and Trump’s common vision for healthy US-China ties. The Chinese President spoke about boosting economic and trade cooperation, adding that the two countries, which are two of the largest economies of the world, should make efforts towards the same.

This comes after Trump, earlier this week, confirmed his commitment to implement plans to increase the tariffs on USD 200 billion-worth Chinese goods from 10 per cent to 25 per cent, CNN reported.
“Where we are right now is in a place of considerable uncertainty. Clearly, there’s a lot of jockeying going on within the administration with pretty sharp contrasts between the positions that people are taking. That’s what makes this so unpredictable. We don’t know where it will end up,” US-China Business Council’s president Craig Allen was quoted by CNN as saying.

While people on both the Chinese and American sides hope for a breakthrough agreement that cools down the tensions between the two superpowers, Trump has clarified that he will only cooperate if China makes necessary concessions.

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s report of the US government’s investigation into ‘unfair’ Chinese trade practices said that there have been scarce efforts from Beijing to ease the US’ concerns pertaining to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation.
Prior to departing for the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Trump told reporters that while the two countries were “very close” to agreeing on a deal, he was content with not pursuing it as it resulted in the Chinese paying billions of dollars in taxes.

“But I don’t know if 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. Frankly, I like the deal we have right now,” Trump said.

In September, Trump imposed 10 per cent tariffs on Chinese products amounting to USD 200 billion, with Beijing retaliating with tariffs on American goods worth USD 60 billion. Both the countries had earlier threatened new waves of tariffs in the near future.