BUENOS AIRES: Global trade and geopolitical tensions grew at the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires even as world leaders flew into the Argentine capital for the annual summit of the biggest nations.
US President Donald Trump, en route to the summit, tweeted that he would not hold planned talks with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, as a result of the continuing confrontation between Russia and Ukraine.
“I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting,” he wrote from US Air Force One on the way to Argentina. “I look forward to a meaningful summit again as soon as this situation is resolved.”
However, Trump did nothing to tone down the rhetoric in the confrontation looming at G20 between the US and China over tariffs imposed by the two countries on each other’s products.
“Billions of dollars are pouring into the coffers of the US because of the tariffs being charged to China, and there is a long way to go,” he tweeted.
That dashed earlier reports that Trump was “very close” to a deal with China on trade, and that US officials were preparing to delay the introduction of tariffs.
Trump is due to meet with President Xi Jinping of China over dinner in Buenos Aires. Trade and finance dominated the day before official meetings begin between the 20 leaders and their invitees today.
Marisa Bircher, Argentina’s international trade secretary, said that her country was committed to free and open trade, and would do all it could to facilitate dialogue between the US and China at the summit.
Away from the main summit center, the World Bank organized an investment forum to discuss financial issues and cross-border investment flows. Several big companies from Saudi Arabia are believed to have taken part in the event, which was held behind closed doors.
Security concerns continued to dog the summit in the buildup to the opening day. Patricia Bullrich, the Argentine security minister, said in the first of what are expected to be daily briefings that she had held talks with the leaders of social opposition groups who had been planning demonstrations, and that the security situation was under control.