US President Donald Trump made clear on Friday that trade was his top priority at a summit of leaders of Group of 20 nations, as China’s Xi Jinping warned against rising protectionism and India, Japan and Russia defended multilateral trade rules.
Trump, who is holding a series of meetings on the sidelines with world leaders, including Japan’s Shinzo Abe and India’s Narendra Modi, said he saw US trade prospects improving, days after criticizing the US-Japan security treaty and demanding that New Delhi withdraw retaliatory tariffs.
“I think we’re going to have some very big things to announce. Very big trade deal. We’re doing some very big things with India in terms of trade, in terms of manufacturing,” Trump said at the start of talks with the Indian prime minister.
Trump, set to hold a high-profile meeting on trade with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday, also made a push to discuss US concerns about Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei at his meetings.
Washington has pressed its allies to shun Huawei in their fifth generation, or 5G, networks on security grounds, and has also suggested it could be a factor in a trade deal with Xi.
“We actually sell Huawei many of its parts,” Trump said at his meeting with Modi. “So we’re going to be discussing that and also how India fits in. And we’ll be discussing Huawei.”
Asian shares stumbled during the day amid rising doubts that the highly anticipated meeting between Trump and Xi would ease trade tension. European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker flagged the shadow cast by the US-China trade feud.
“The trade relations between China and the United States are difficult, they are contributing to the slowdown of the global economy,” he told a news conference. Xi also warned about the protectionist steps he said some developed countries were taking.
“All this is destroying the global trade order… This also impacts common interests of our countries, overshadows the peace and stability worldwide,” Xi told a gathering of leaders of the BRICS grouping of nations on the sidelines of the G20 meet.