G20: Trump and Xi to meet amid US-China trade tensions


US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks in Argentina in an attempt to thaw the trade war between their countries that has rumbled on throughout 2018.

In a tweet, Trump said: "China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the US".

Aaron Friedberg, a Princeton University professor of politics and global affairs, told NBC News before the G-20 summit that such a temporary cease-fire - setting up a structure for further negotiations - was the likely outcome of the Trump-Xi talks.

Some lawmakers have criticized Trump for his tough trade talk and actions toward China, including his tariffs and threats of imposing up to $256 billion more in such sanctions if no deal could be reached. But for U.S. cars, China added a 25 per cent tariff over the summer, making the rate 40 per cent. Meanwhile, futures in China dropped on expectations of increased supply, with soybean meal on the Dalian Commodity Exchange losing 3.4 percent to 2,953 yuan a metric ton, the lowest since June.

According to the White House statement, the two leaders agreed to immediately begin negotiations on top U.S. concerns related to forced technology transfer, intellectual property and cyber theft.

Trump imposed 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods in September.

As part of the deal, China also agreed to start purchasing agricultural products from US farmers immediately, the White House said.

U.S. -China relations are very special and important, Trump said, adding that it is in the interest of the two countries as well as the world that the United States and China, both countries of significant influence, maintain a good cooperative relationship.

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The trade war has taken a toll on vehicle companies that manufacture in the USA, with the makers of Mercedes-Benz and its rival BMW both warning of lower profits this year as tariffs forced them to hike prices in China. The US has a 27.5 per cent tax on imported cars from China. In its turn, Beijing responded with tariffs on $110 billion of USA goods. And Beijing agreed to reconsider a takeover by US chipmaker Qualcomm that it had previously blocked.

Both sides have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods.

The White House in turn did not immediately elaborate on any details of the meeting, besides economic adviser Larry Kudlow telling reporters that the dinner went "very well".

Beijing and Washington are now locked in a trade war, after Trump began imposing tariffs on Chinese goods for violating intellectual property rights, also accusing the Asian nation of unfair trade practices amounting to a $375 billion U.S. trade deficit with China.

"The Chinese public needs to keep in mind that China-US trade negotiations [will] fluctuate".

The United States and China will carry forward negotiations over a 90-day period; if that period expires without a satisfactory comprehensive agreement - an all too likely outcome - further escalation will take place. The White House's official statement says nothing of the sort; it only says the US will hold negotiations with China on the latter's "forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture".

The White House and U.S. Trade Representative's (USTR) office did not immediately respond to a request for comment late on Sunday.