G-20 agrees on trade, mi­gra­tion

China, U.S. reach 90-day cease-fire in trade disputes

The Morning Call (Sunday) - - NATION & WORLD - By Angela Charl­ton, Luis An­dres Henao and Peter Orsi

BUENOS AIRES, Ar­gentina — Lead­ers of the world's top economies agreed Satur­day to re­pair the global trad­ing sys­tem as they closed a Group of 20 sum­mit that saw the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion at odds with many al­lies over the Paris ac­cord on cli­mate change and is­sues like mi­gra­tion.

At the same con­fer­ence, the United States and China reached a 90-day cease-fire in a trade dis­pute that has rat­tled fi­nan­cial mar­kets and threat­ened world eco­nomic growth.

The break­through came af­ter a din­ner meet­ing Satur­day be­tween Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping at the Group of 20 sum­mit in Buenos Aires.

In another long-sought con­ces­sion to the U.S., China agreed to la­bel fen­tanyl, the deadly syn­thetic opi­oid re­spon­si­ble for tens of thou­sands of Amer­i­can drug deaths an­nu­ally, as a con­trolled sub­stance.

The joint state­ment signed by all 20 mem­ber na­tions said 19 of them reaf­firmed their com­mit­ment to the Paris cli­mate ac­cord, with the United States, which with­drew from the pact un­der Trump, the lone hold­out.

The of­fi­cial com­mu­nique ac­knowl­edged flaws in global com­merce and called for reforming the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion, but it didn't men­tion the word “pro­tec­tion­ism” af­ter ne­go­tia­tors said that they had met resistance from the United States.

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 U.S. re­it­er­ates its de­ci­sion to with­draw. It also notes a re­cent U.N. re­port that warned dam­age from global warm­ing will be much worse than pre­vi­ously feared, and ex­presses sup­port for an up­com­ing U.N. cli­mate meet­ing in Poland meant to nail down how coun­tries will meet prom­ises made in the Paris ac­cord.

The non­bind­ing agree­ment was reached af­ter marathon talks by diplo­mats stretched through the night and into day­light, amid di­vi­sions be­tween mem­ber na­tions. Euro­pean Union of­fi­cials said the United States was the main hold­out on nearly ev­ery is­sue. Trump has crit­i­cized the WTO and taken ag­gres­sive trade poli­cies tar­get­ing China and the EU.

A se­nior White House of­fi­cial said the joint state­ment meets many U.S. ob­jec­tives and stressed that it in­cludes lan­guage about WTO re­form. The of­fi­cial also noted other el­e­ments such as lan­guage on work­force devel­op­ment and women's eco­nomic devel­op­ment and a com­mit­ment by China to do­ing in­fra­struc­ture fi­nanc­ing on “trans­par­ent terms.”

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial, the un­usual lan­guage on cli­mate was nec­es­sary for Wash­ing­ton to sign on, and Turkey, Saudi Ara­bia and Rus­sia had ap­peared sym­pa­thetic to the U.S. po­si­tion but stayed with the other coun­tries.

Still for Trump, his Satur­day evening meet­ing with China's Xi was the mar­quee event of the pres­i­dent's two-day trip to Ar­gentina af­ter he can­celed a for­mal sit-down with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin over mount­ing ten­sions be­tween Rus­sia and Ukraine.

White House press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders said Trump agreed not to raise U.S. tar­iffs on Chi­nese im­ports as sched­uled on Jan. 1, when tar­iffs on $200 bil­lion of Chi­nese goods were set to in­crease to 25 per­cent from 10 per­cent.

She added that the two coun­tries will “im­me­di­ately be­gin ne­go­ti­a­tions on struc­tural changes” around in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty pro­tec­tions, cy­bertheft and other U.S. pri­or­i­ties.

The White House said that if the two sides don't reach agree­ment within 90 days, then Trump will im­pose the tar­iffs.

The Wash­ing­ton Post, mean­while, quot­ing a re­port in China's state-run Xin­hua news agency, said that the two sides had agreed that “no ad­di­tional tar­iffs will be im­posed af­ter Jan­uary.”

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

Trump has al­ready im­posed im­port taxes on $250 bil­lion in Chi­nese prod­ucts, but Trump agreed to hold off on plans to raise tar­iffs Jan. 1 on $200 bil­lion in Chi­nese goods.

China, mean­while, has slapped tar­iffs on $110 bil­lion in U.S. goods.

China on Satur­day also agreed to la­bel fen­tanyl a con­trolled sub­stance, the White House said.

U.S. of­fi­cials for years have been press­ing the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment to take a tougher stance against fen­tanyl, which is 50 times more pow­er­ful than heroin.

Most U.S. sup­ply of the drug is man­u­fac­tured in China.

San­ders said the de­ci­sion means that “peo­ple sell­ing fen­tanyl to the United States will be sub­ject to China's max­i­mum penalty un­der the law.”

Trump also can­celed a Satur­day news con­fer­ence, cit­ing re­spect for the Bush fam­ily fol­low­ing the death of for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush.

Rus­sia's Putin, mean­while, even­tu­ally got his chance to talk with Trump — but their brief ex­change over Ukraine didn't ac­com­plish much.

The two men spoke Satur­day on the side­lines of the G-20 — just long enough for Trump to ask Putin what he is up to in Ukraine, and for Putin to re­spond.

“I an­swered his ques­tions about the in­ci­dent in the Black Sea. He has his po­si­tion. I have my own. We stayed in our own po­si­tions,” Putin told re­porters.


Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping, left, and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s din­ner came amid a trade dis­pute be­tween the two na­tions.

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