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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Trump arrives in Argentina for G20 summit with China high on the agenda

US President Donald Trump jetted into Argentina on Thursday for the G20 summit and what is seen as a crucial meeting on the sidelines with China on trade.

The weekend G20 gathering, which kicks off on Friday, comes amid increasingly dire warnings by the International Monetary Fund, among others, of the potential harm faced by the world economy from Mr Trump's trade wars.

G20 leaders, whose countries account for four-fifths of the world's economic output, according to AFP, first met in November 2008 to forge a united front against the global financial crisis. A decade on, that unity has all but vanished as the "America First" Mr Trump shreds the consensus underpinning international trade and other G20 countries such as Brazil, Italy and Mexico turn to populist leaders.

China is hoping for "positive results" in resolving the trade dispute with the United States at the G20 summit, the commerce ministry said on Thursday.

Mr Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are due to hold trade talks in Buenos Aires on Saturday, Reuters said.

Asked if China was seeking to prevent more US tariffs at the high-stakes meeting, the ministry's spokesman, Gao Feng, said economic teams from both sides were in contact to implement a "consensus" reached by Mr Trump and Mr Xi in a phone call this month.

"I hope that the United States and China could move towards each other and work hard to achieve positive results in the meeting," Mr Gao said, without giving any details.

The United States has levied additional duties of between 10 per cent and 25 percent on $250 billion (Dh918.12bn) of Chinese goods this year as punishment for what it calls China's unfair trade practices, with the 10 per cent tariffs set to rise to 25 per cent next year.

"The Chinese side has repeatedly stressed that the essence of Sino-US economic and trade cooperation is about mutual benefit and win-win," Mr Gao said.

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A Reuters poll on Wednesday showed China's factories likely struggled to grow for a second straight month in November as cooling demand at home and the threat of higher US tariffs stifled new orders.

China's stock markets fell on Thursday as fragile investor sentiment shattered earlier gains, and as trading volumes remained lighter than average ahead of Saturday's meeting.