Australian PM to advocate for free trade at G20 summit

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Buenos Aires: As US President Donald Trump makes his flying entry into Argentina today for a G20 summit, speculations are rife that US and China will go head on with their trade war.

He expects China to offer a guarantee that they will import a certain level of US exports per year. If a deal can not be reached, Trump has threatened further tariffs on Chinese goods, with the possibility of placing levies on all $US500 billion of Chinese goods coming to the US.

There are mixed signals coming out of the White House.

Like Trump and Xi, Prime Minister Theresa May will arrive in Buenos Aires late on Thursday to bring another intriguing subplot to the world's pre-eminent economic forum.

Any sign that Trump will hold off on plans to ramp up USA tariffs on Chinese imports in January may alleviate pressure on emerging-market and commodity-linked currencies, undermining the greenback and haven trades like the yen.

The United States has imposed import taxes on $250 billion worth of Chinese products and China has countered by targeting $110 billion in USA imports.

Larry Kudlow, Trump's top economic adviser, said in a G20 preview this week that "issues of intellectual property theft must be solved".

One offer, according to Chinese officials: in return for the suspension of US tariffs, Beijing would agree to lift restrictions on China's purchases of USA farm and energy products.

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The Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow regrets the decision of the United States administration to cancel the planned meeting because it delays the discussion of pressing global and bilateral issues for an uncertain period of time.

The one major figure not expected to sit down with the Saudi crown prince is US President Donald Trump, who said earlier this month that he will not punish Riyadh for Khashoggi's killing. He told The Wall Street Journal it was "highly unlikely" he would refrain from lifting the levy rates to 25 percent.

"Backing off on China for some quick handshake agreement, without substantive, real, deep commitments will be seen as a victory by no one", Schumer said Wednesday.

"I will tell you that I think China wants to make a deal", he continued. "If they did make the smartphones in the U.S., it would add somewhere between 20 percent to 35 percent more to the final consumer prices of the phones sold to the public", Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Solutions, told CNN Wednesday.

If the objective is to restore the U.S. economy to what it "used to be", then it won't only be China that will be adversely affected. Allen predicts the new tariffs will be applied in stages rather than all at once if Saturday's meeting between Xi and Trump fails to produce at the very least a pause in the dispute. They are, of course, ultimately a tax on United States consumers and shareholders. Taxes paid to the U.S. Treasury from tariffs, however, are clearly rising.

The auto industry and its supply chain have seen significant impact from tariffs. The president is angry over the announcement Monday that GM plans to close plants and eliminate 14,000 jobs in North America.

Government spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the two leaders will start with one-on-one talks and then continue broader negotiations involving officials from both sides. But Kudlow also said the White House has been disappointed so far in China's response to trade issues with the United States.

It doesn't help that neither Trump nor his trade or economic advisers are prepared to acknowledge (if, indeed, they recognise it) that a trade conflict harms the USA along with those it targets, or that a country that issues the world's reserve currency is inevitably going to run structural current account deficits.