G20 summit 2019: Trump: Won’t be raising tariffs for time being

G20 summit 2019: Trump: Won’t be raising tariffs for time being


The annual summit of the Group of 20 nations is wrapping up its second and final day in Osaka, Japan. At the top of the agenda is the ongoing trade war between China and the United States, the world's two biggest economies.

The G20 is an international leaders' forum comprising 19 countries and the European Union.

Collectively, the grouping represents more than 80 percent of the world's economic output and two-thirds of its people. Its primary aim is to promote international financial stability.

Here are the latest updates:

Saturday, June 29:

The G20 Declaration

(AL Jazeera) The US-China trade war and climate change have been contentious issues during the G20 summit. Here are key excerpts from the G20 Declaration that reference them.

Global business environment

"We strive to realize a free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment, and to keep our markets open. International trade and investment are important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development. We reaffirm our support for the necessary reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to improve its functions.

"We reaffirm our commitment to further strengthening the global financial safety net with a strong, quota-based, and adequately resourced International Monetary Fund (IMF) at its center.

An open and resilient financial system, grounded in agreed international standards, is crucial to support sustainable growth. We remain committed to the full, timely and consistent implementation of the agreed financial reforms."

Work on climate change

"Noting the important work of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Intergovernmental Science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Sources (IPBES), and in the light of recent extreme weather events and disasters, we recognize the urgent need for addressing complex and pressing global issues and challenges, including climate change, resource efficiency, air, land, fresh water and marine pollution, including marine plastic litter, biodiversity loss, sustainable consumption and production, urban environmental quality and other environmental issues, and for promoting and leading energy transitions, with the best available science, while promoting sustainable growth

We emphasize the importance of providing financial resources to assist developing countries with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

The United States reiterates its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement because it disadvantages American workers and taxpayers. The U.S. reaffirms its strong commitment to promoting economic growth, energy security and access, and environmental protection. The U.S.’s balanced approach to energy and environment allows for the delivery of affordable, reliable, and secure energy to all its citizens while utilizing all energy sources and technologies, including clean and advanced fossil fuels and technologies, renewables, and civil nuclear power, while also reducing emissions and promoting economic growth."

US companies can sell equipment to Huawei

When asked by a reporter about his ban on US companies selling high-tech components to Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, Trump said:

"I did agree to allow our companies" to sell equipment to the firm.

Huawei is a leader in the latest 5G mobile phone technology. The US says the company is a threat to US national security.

Trump on Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Trump was asked by a reporter if he agreed it was "despicable" for a government to kill a journalist.

Trump replied: "Yes, I do. I think it's horrible. Or anybody else, by the way. And if you look at Saudi Arabia, you see what's happening, thirteen people, or so, have been prosecuted. Others are being prosecuted. They've taken it very, very seriously. And they will continue to."

Trump: US won't raise tariffs on Chinese goods for now

President Donald Trump says the US will hold off raising tariffs on more than $300bn worth of Chinese goods while negotiations to end the trade war between the two countries continue.

"We will be continuing to negotiate. And I promised that for at least the time being, we are not going to be lifting tariffs on China, and we won't be adding an additional, I guess we have $350bn left which could be taxed, or could be tariffed. And we're not doing that. We're going to work with China on where we left off to see if we can make a deal," Trump said at a news conference at the end of the two-day G20 Summit.

Japan's Abe: G20 heads to promote 'inclusive economy'

At the conclusion of the G20 Summit, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the leaders have agreed to principles governing the global economy.

"Trade tensions are continuing, and that's a risk. We have to keep those risks and tensions in mind. Still, we have united in agreeing that we have to lead the world economy," Abe said at a news conference.

"There is some dissatisfaction between countries. So although there are concerns, what we have to do is establish principles to lead the world economy to the future. Free, fair and inclusive economy and open competition. Those principles have been affirmed between the leaders at this G20 meeting."

Abe also said the leaders discussed the rapidly evolving digitalisation of the world economy, plastic pollution of the seas and women's rights.

Abe G20 closing news conference
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says G20 leaders agreed to work towards a 'free, fair and inclusive economy' [Jorge Silva/Reuters]

North Korea: Trump's offer to meet 'very interesting'

North Korea said on Saturday US President Donald Trump's offer to meet leader Kim Jong Un at the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a "very interesting suggestion," raising prospects for a third face-to-face meeting between the two leaders.

According to the North's official Korean Central News Agency, First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said that the meeting, if realized, would serve as "another meaningful occasion in further deepening the personal relations between the two leaders and advancing the bilateral relations."

But Choe said that North Korea has yet to receive an official proposal for the DMZ meeting from the US.

Earlier Saturday, Trump invited Kim to shake hands during his planned visit to the DMZ, which has served as a de-facto border between the Koreas since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. Trump is scheduled to fly to South Korea later Saturday for a two-day trip after attending the G 20 Summit.

Trump: Turkey's missile deal is 'complicated'

President Trump says he and Turkish President Erdogan were trying to find solutions to Turkey’s purchase of Russian made S-400 defence missiles, due to be delivered next month.

The US has threatened to impose sanctions on his NATO ally because of the purchase but Trump said President Barack Obama’s administration had placed unfair restrictions on Turkey’s plan to buy US-made Patriot missiles. Trump said Turkey had turned to Russia because of Obama's move.

“We’re looking at different solutions. It’s a problem there’s no question of about it,” Trump said.

Trump also said he would visit NATO ally Turkey some time in the future.

Trump Edrogan at G20 Osaka Japan
After a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump says they're looking for solutions around Turkey's purchase of Russian missiles [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

Chinese state media: US won't levy new tariffs on Chinese exports

The Xinhua news agency is reporting that the US has agreed to not levy new tariffs on Chinese exports following talks between the two countries' leaders.

China and the US have agreed to restart trade talks and will have discussions on specific issues, Xinhua said.

Trump: Relations with China are 'back on track'

After a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, US President Donald Trump says relations between the two countries are "back on track" after a breakdown in trade talks last month.

"We had a very, very good meeting with China. I would say probably even better than expected. The negotiations are continuing," Trump told reporters.

He said both sides will be making statements later on Saturday.

The meeting between the two has been seen by analysts and economists as the most important of the G20 Summit. They say a failure to agree on ways to ratchet down the US-China trade dispute could have dire consequences for the world economy.

Cooling on the climate

In a joint press conference with representatives of France and the United Nations, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for urgent action to address climate change.

"In our view climate change concerns the future of mankind," he said, "so our generation needs to make the right choice. All countries need to step up to the plate and deliver on their commitments in the Paris Agreement to the full extent."

He added: "We must promote green infrastructure, green investment, and green financing. We look forward to working with like-minded parties to build a green Silk Road to achieve high-quality development and to leave behind a clean and beautiful world for future generations."

But these are rare words of support for fighting climate change during the G20 Summit.

While French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged not to sign any G20 statement that leaves out any reference to the 2015 Paris deal on combatting climate change, he’s up against the US, which is trying to stifle any mention of it. Under pressure from the US, Japan is on course to leave out references to global warming in the final communique.

Meanwhile G20 countries have increased their annual spending on coal-fired plants to $64bn, according to a report by the Overseas Development Institute. It also says G20 nations have tripled subsidies for the industry in recent years.

Trump-Xi meeting under way: Seeking a 'historic' trade deal

Meanwhile, Trump laid out his vision for the two countries trade relationship:

"As you know we’ve had an excellent relationship but we want to do something that will even it up with respect to trade," Trump said.

"I think it’s something that’s actually very easy to do. I actually think we were very close … something happened where it slipped a little bit and now we’re getting a little bit closer, but it would be historic if we could do a fair trade deal. We’re totally open to it and I know you’re totally open to it. I think we can go on to do something that would be truly be monumental and great for both countries and that’s what I look forward to doing."

Trump-Xi meeting under way: Ping pong diplomacy and trade

The most highly anticipated event of this year’s G20 Summit is under way. US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are meeting to discuss their ongoing trade dispute.

Before their meeting they made brief statements to the media.

Xi reminded Trump about the history of modern relations between China and the US, starting with a table tennis tournament between American and Chinese players in the 1970s which paved the way for formal diplomatic relations which began in 1979.

“The small ball played a big role in moving world events,” Xi said.

“Forty years on, enormous change has taken place in the international situation and China-US relations,” Xi said.

“But one basic fact remains unchanged. China and the United States both benefit from cooperation and lose in a confrontation. Cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation.”

Trump Xi bilateral meeting at G20 Summit Osaka Japan
The big event of the G20 Summit is under way. China's President Xi Jinping reminded Trump of the history of relations between their countries before trade talks begin [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

No sign of rapprochement over trade war?

Speaking to Al Jazeera's programme Inside Story, Aly-Khan Satchu, economist and CEO of Rich Management, an investment advisory company in Kenya, thinks that both Presidents Trump and Xi aren't in the mood to compromise.

"Overwhelming the summit is this gladiatorial combat between President Trump and Xi Jinping is the trade war, the tariff war. Essentially the direction of the global economy is going to be driven by whether these two can have a truce.

"Both of whom are going to be unable to reconcile … . Trump is a train driver but the train tracks have been set and he can either speed it up or slow it down. Xi, the paramount leader … the nature of paramount leaders and you’re up on a pedestal and everyone can point at you and he can’t compromise either.

"And while everyone’s talking about a big fat agenda, let’s make no mistake - this is about the two superpowers and about whether they can come to some kind of resolution. The direction of travel is much more adversarial and we should read the signs for what they are."

The lead-up to the Trump-Xi meeting

Al Jazeera's James Bays says the big event of the G20 Summit is the upcoming meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"The big discussions are going to be about trade. And this is absolutely central, I think, to the mission of the G20, which is about the world’s economic outlook because many are worried about the ongoing trade war between the US and China," says Bays.

"Since May, trade negotiations broke down. Things could get worse or better. Trump, again, has been trumpeting about the state of the US stock market. But of course, the US stock market depends on the global economy. And economists are watching very, very closely what happens at this meeting. And they fear, in a worst-case scenario, if the trade war were to get worse, then it could tank the whole global economy."

Trump-MBS bilateral meeting

US President Donald Trump held a working breakfast with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, at a hotel in Osaka.

Neither of them answered questions about the investigation into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul last year.

Trump heaped praise on MBS, saying it was "a great honour" to meet with him and described Saudi Arabia as "a good purchaser of American products." Turning to MBS, Trump added, "You've done a really spectacular job."

Trump and Mohammed bin Salman at G20 Summit, Japan
Neither Trump nor Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, attending a working breakfast, answered questions about the investigation into Jamal Khashoggi's murder [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

'Hello': Another Trump-Kim meeting on the cards?

US President Donald Trump began the second day of the G20 Summit by shifting the focus to the Korean Peninsula. In an early morning tweet he wrote:

"After some very important meetings, including my meeting with President Xi of China, I will be leaving Japan for South Korea (with President Moon). While there, if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!"



It did not appear that US officials had warned North Korea in advance about Trump's unexpected offer of a meeting, and it wasn't clear whether or not such a meeting would prove feasible.

Resisting protectionism
Japan's Nikkei newspaper is reporting that the G20 leaders will agree to accelerate World Trade Organization (WTO) reforms but stop short of calling for the need to resist protectionism in a communique to be issued on Saturday.

The G20 members broadly agreed on the need to accelerate stalled WTO reforms in Friday's session on global growth and trade, a Japanese government official told reporters, according to the Reuters news agency.

Instead of a pledge to resist protectionism, Japan is working with other G20 nations to urge members to promote a "free, fair and non-discriminatory" trade policy, the paper said. The proposal has been endorsed by several members already, it said without citing sources.

The G20 leaders will release the communique after they wrap up their two-day meeting on Saturday.

It will be the second straight G20 summit in which members forgo pledging the need to denounce protectionism. The language on protectionism was removed at last year's summit in Buenos Aires, nodding to a request by Washington which is sensitive to criticism of the tariffs it is slapping on some G20 members.