All eyes on Argentina
World leaders converged on Buenos Aires, Argentina this past weekend, transfixing politicians and markets worldwide. The Group of Twenty (G20) summit represents the world’s largest economies; the nations there will account for over 80% of the global economy.
The annual meeting is typically a headline event, but this year’s summit will be especially meaningful for Americans as they watch their leaders interacting with foreign dignitaries.
Trump and Xi face off
Alongside the regular meetings, President Trump prepared for a one-on-one dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two leaders were to meet to resolve the ongoing trade war between their nations. Stakes are high, as both leaders’ reputations are on the line, and President Trump has threatened to double tariffs if China doesn’t strike a deal.
If the dispute is resolved or even de-escalated, trade with China could rebound, which could be a boon to exporters from both countries. U.S. consumers could regain access to low-priced Chinese goods, and U.S. farmers could again aggressively sell soybeans, pork, sorghum, cotton, and other products to the world’s biggest commodity buyer.
President Trump had planned to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin as well, but abruptly cancelled those talks on Thursday morning. In a tweet, Trump cited recent Russian belligerence against Ukraine as the reason for the cancellation. However, President Trump’s domestic critics charge that he cancelled the meeting due to rising pressures coming from the Robert Mueller probe after Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen plead guilty to lying to Congress about Trump’s business dealings with Russia.
Either way, a military standoff between Ukraine and Russia loomed over the G20 meeting, with severe implications for both nations as well as the NATO alliance, which has been called upon by Ukraine to come to its defense against Russian aggression.
New NAFTA deal
Finally, leaders from Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. met on Friday morning to sign a revised free trade deal. This should cement our neighbors as some of our strongest trading partners, while potentially helping U.S. dairy farmers and auto manufacturers. The deal still has not been approved by the nations’ legislatures, which could present a roadblock.
Despite the accord, there are still lingering trade disputes over U.S. imposed steel and aluminum tariffs, which resulted in counter-tariffs from Mexico and Canada against U.S. goods, including pork, grains, machinery, and even whiskey.