Published: Sat, December 01, 2018
Money | By Bruce West

Russia-Ukraine crisis clouds G20 summit in Buenos Aires

Russia-Ukraine crisis clouds G20 summit in Buenos Aires

A substantive deal between the United States and China could mark a major feat for the G20 summit, where expectations for collective action have been low.

G20 leaders opened annual talks on November 30 stalked by the deepest divisions since their first summit 10 years ago, with US President Donald Trump under fire for destroying the group's past consensus on trade and climate change.

Trump has often voiced a desire for better relations with Putin, and many critics at home slammed him in July for appearing to disregard United States intelligence agencies' conclusion that Moscow meddled in the 2016 USA presidential election, while giving credence to the Russian president's assertion that it did not.

With such a keen focus on the US President's trade policies, Mr Trump started the summit with what he certainly considers a win.

Xi didn't mention U.S. or the trade war in his speech.

One bright spot in Buenos Aires on Friday before the summit opened was the signing of a revised US-Mexico-Canada trade pact to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).

Russian Federation captured three Ukrainian naval vessels and 24 personnel in the Black Sea this week after accusing them of trespassing.

Macri said the matter of the killing would be "on the table" during bilateral and possibly broader meetings.

Mr Trump has repeatedly accused the Chinese of stealing trade secrets and American intellectual property by compelling U.S. companies to hand over intellectual property in order to do business. "It's very complicated", she said, adding that differences remained on all the key issues.

How intense is the trade war?

Mr Trump is also reported to have had a short meeting with the Crown Prince.

For its part, China responded by slapping retaliatory tariffs on €110 billion of American imports.

US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are scheduled to have dinner together on Saturday.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer earlier told reporters that Trump and Xi have a good personal relationship and "I would be very surprised if it (their meeting) was not a success".

On the economic front, the G20 nations are expected to have exchanged views on other risks to the world economy, including the slowdown of China's economy, and USA monetary policy normalization that could trigger an outflow of capital from emerging markets.

The summit marks a quick return to the worldwide stage for Prince Mohammed after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate.

Global indignation over Khashoggi's murder, which was carried out inside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, continued on Thursday as Canada slapped sanctions on 17 Saudi nationals allegedly linked to his murder.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping were also seen speaking with the prince on the summit's sidelines.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir discussed the need for progress in the investigation into slain journalist's brutal killing and dismemberment during talks in Buenos Aires on Friday, the US State Department said in a statement.

Just what is the G20?

Angered by rampant inflation and soaring unemployment, an alliance of Argentine activist groups and trade unions plans a major protest in central Buenos Aires on Friday, the summit's first day. And he's threatened to expand tariffs to virtually everything China ships to the United States. A chance to show world leaders that with Mauricio Macri at the helm, the country meant business. The symbolism ahead of the Xi meeting was clear: the Trump administration has looked to find common cause with both nations in countering China's regional hegemony.

Inflation is high, economic growth is sluggish, the peso has plummeted and the country has had to rely on a $57bn loan from the deeply unpopular International Monetary Fund to try to get itself out of the crisis.

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