USA calls China's tariffs on American autos 'egregious'

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The leaders of countries representing four-fifths of the global economy opened a two-day meeting in Argentina facing the deepest fractures since the first G20 summit convened 10 years ago in the throes of financial crisis.

The Wall Street Journal said the two countries are exploring a trade deal in which the United States would hold off on further tariffs through the spring in exchange for new talks looking at big changes in Chinese economic policy.

But on the G20 margins, Trump scored one victory for his "America First" agenda with the signing of a successor to the North American free trade pact Nafta, the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Washington is scheduled to raise import tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese products from 10 per cent to 25 per cent from January 2019 if it can not come to terms with Beijing.

Kirill Dmitriev, the chief of Russia's sovereign wealth fund, told reporters that Putin would meet the prince Saturday and discuss boosting Saudi Arabia's $2 billion investment in Russian Federation.

"I continue to highlight, as I always have, that trade tensions are not good for the global economy".

"I think this is an issue that Trump cares a lot about and is going to use when he campaigns for 2020", Ms O'Neil said.

"There are some ... things in there that I think Democrats can support", Ms O'Neil said.

Erdoğan is also expected to hold meetings with Japan's Shinzo Abe and the U.K.'s Theresa May.

In May, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declared the trade war "on hold" after Beijing agreed to increase its purchases of US soybeans and liquefied natural gas - a move that could have put a dent in China's massive trade surplus with the United States.

China now imposes a 40 percent tariff on USA automobiles, while the United States has a 27.5 percent tariff on Chinese vehicles. "Way, way, way above my pay grade", he said.

On the eve of the summit, G20 member nations were still racing to reach agreement on major issues including trade, migration and climate change that in past years have been worked out well in advance.

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Trump's intervention comes as his administration is mulling whether to apply fresh tariffs on imported autos under national security grounds, as it did on steel and aluminum imports this year.

The United States has cast talks Saturday with Xi as a deadline for China to cave on key trade concerns of Trump, who has slapped $250 billion in tariffs on the Asian power.

However, delegates to the Buenos Aires talks said good progress had been made on economic sections of the final communique overnight.

A Chinese foreign ministry official in Buenos Aires said there were signs of increasing consensus ahead of the discussions but that differences persisted.

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". "The US should give its habitual winner-take-all approach to worldwide relations the weekend off", it said.

Asked about the European concerns, a USA official said progress was being made on the joint statement and the White House was "optimistic" about the document as a whole.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, who arrived amid controversy over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has been ignored by other leaders at public events, although he has had a series of bilateral meetings with them in private. Human Rights Watch asked Argentine prosecutors to investigate him for human rights abuses.

Saudi Arabia has insisted the prince had no prior knowledge of the killing.

However, Trump made clear that he also wants to follow up on his historic June summit in Singapore as he tries to persuade the reclusive regime to give up its nuclear weapons.

Putin was the only leader to exchange an openly cordial greeting with the isolated Saudi prince, high-fiving him when he entered the main summit room, news reports said.

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