US and China 'under pressure' to find tariffs compromise at G20

All eyes will be on Donald Trump and Xi Jinping as they meet for trade talks in Argentina. With tougher tariffs on the horizon, China hopes to cinch a deal soon — but Trump has made it clear negotiations won't be easy.

China hopes to make progress in resolving a trade dispute with the United States during the G20 summit in Argentina, the country's commerce ministry said on Thursday.

"I hope that the United States and China could move towards each other and work hard to achieve positive results in the meeting," the ministry's spokesperson Gao Feng said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump are due to hold high-stakes talks on the sidelines of the summit on Saturday.

As Xi headed out for the summit, he vowed that Beijing would "make a lot of efforts to speed up market access, improve the investment environment and increase protection of intellectual property."

The Chinese leader has made similar promises before with little follow-through, drawing the ire of foreign businesses located in China.

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While departing for the G20 summit on Thursday, Trump told reporters that although he was open to making a trade deal with China when he meets with Xi, he wasn't convinced that he should give up the tariffs.

"We are very close to doing something with China, but I don't know that I want to do it," Trump said, adding: "I like the deal we have now."

This year, Washington levied duties between 10 percent and 25 percent on Chinese goods worth some $250 billion (€219 billion), arguing that the tariffs are necessary to combat what the Trump administration describes as China's unfair trade practices.

The 10 percent US tariffs are set to climb to 25 percent in January.

Beijing has also raised its own tariffs against the US in retaliation, in a fight that has shaken financial markets.

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'Pressure' on Xi and Trump

With markets and consumers unsettled by the trade conflict between the world's largest and second-largest economies, experts say the two sides will be more motivated to take steps to solve the tariff dispute.

"Without cooperation on trade issues, bilateral relations would drastically worsen. In this respect, Presidents Xi and Trump are under pressure to find compromises and make progress towards ending the trade dispute," Cheng Li, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told DW.

Li, who is the director of the US think-tank's "John L. Thornton China Center", cautioned that even if a trade deal is reached, it would be "naive" to believe that the economic conflict between the two countries would be over.

"Everyone knows that at the end of a trade war — which cannot go on forever — there are only losers. For that reason alone, they will have to find a solution sooner or later."

DW's Fu Yue contributed to this report.

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