Trade ties in G20 summit spotlight

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Trump and Xi were to seek a way out of a trade war between the world's two biggest economies, while also saving face for their domestic audiences.

A draft said 19 of the participants agreed upon the importance of upholding the Paris climate accord, but the United States does not.

The statement acknowledges flaws in the world trading system and calls for reforming the World Trade Organization.

"We therefore support the necessary reform of the [World Trade Organization] to improve its functioning", the document says. The European Union is also pushing for reform at the WTO.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she hopes a meeting between the US and Chinese leaders will help resolve trade tensions between the two countries.

Mr Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, responded: "If this is so, the president will have a couple of extra hours in the programme for useful meetings on the sidelines of the summit".

"As the president has repeatedly noted, China's aggressive, State-directed industrial policies are causing severe harm to US workers and manufacturers", Lighthizer said in a statement.

The non-binding agreement, negotiated in all-night talks, capped the two-day G20 summit in Buenos Aries.

But ahead of what is seen as the most important meeting of US and Chinese leaders in years, both sides said differences remained, and the outcome of the talks were uncertain.

Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will be among the world leaders gathering amid high tension over an array of world issues including the Ukraine conflict, trade with China and relations with Saudi Arabia.

Over their meal, following the conclusion of the G-20 leaders' meeting here, Trump and Xi who will be joined by only a small group of advisers are to discuss trade and other matters, the president told reporters during a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman showed himself to be no pariah Friday at the G20 summit, with a beaming Vladimir Putin welcoming him but European leaders warning him over the killing of a dissident journalist. Only when they were about to leave did Argentine officials arrive to greet them.

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Saudi Arabia has said the prince had no prior knowledge of the murder.

The U.S. leader was coy on Friday even as he noted some positive signs.

Trump declares it a victory on behalf of the United States workers he claims were cheated by Nafta.

And while over the next few days Mr Macri will want to make a good impression for his visitors, he's struggling with his reputation closer to home. "I think I understood you better in your language than I did on this, but that's OK", Trump told Macri and then dropped his earpiece on the floor. I think we'd like to. "We'll see what happens".

Yet a Chinese official struck a cautiously optimistic tone a day before the dinner, saying that that the two sides were finding more common ground in their discussions. Their countries have been embroiled in an escalating trade war with new US tariffs on China goods set to take effect a month from now.

China, in response, is threatening to impose taxes on an additional 5,000 types of American imports worth about $60 billion.

Trump, recently unnerved by shaky U.S. markets and the closure announcement of General Motors factories in OH, has appeared more open to a trade breakthrough with China in the last several days, according to people who have spoken to him.

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the U.S. are all represented.

In 2008, amid the global financial crisis, it evolved into what it is today: a major forum for dialogue and decision-making attended by world leaders from vital economies.

The final language of the statement says, regarding climate, that 19 nations that are signatories to the Paris accord reiterate their commitment to it while the USA reiterates its decision to withdraw.

President Donald Trump has criticized the WTO and taken aggressive trade policies targeting China and the EU.

Washington, meanwhile, had insisted the statement emphasize that the multilateral trading system was not working, one of the officials said.

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