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Watch for breakthroughs in U.S.-China trade talks, efforts to stem tensions between Trump administration and Iran and action to lower emissions

Bloomberg, Content provider

June 28, 2019

10 Min Read
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other world leaders attend a family photo session at G20 summit on June 28, 2019, in O
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other world leaders attend a family photo session at G20 summit on June 28, 2019 in Osaka, Japan. Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool/Getty Images News

Updated on Jun 28, 2019, 5:26 am

By Margaret Talev and Jennifer Jacobs

The world’s most powerful leaders are gathering in Japan for meetings that may set the direction for the global economy and make the difference between war and peace in geopolitical hotspots.

Key things to watch include any signs of a breakthrough in U.S.-China trade talks, efforts to stem rising tensions between the Trump administration and Iran, and concrete action to lower emissions and reduce plastic pollution in oceans. Major agenda items include President Donald Trump’s meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Here are the latest developments (all times local):

Brazil Affirms Support for Paris Accord (6:53 p.m.)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Friday assured his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that he’s not leaving the Paris Accord, removing a possible obstacle for the European Union to approve a landmark trade deal with Brazil and three South American countries.

Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly expressed skepticism about climate change and ecology, said during a brief meeting of the two leaders at the G-20 in Osaka that he has no intention of withdrawing from the 2015 carbon-limiting pact, Bolsonaro’s spokesman and a French official said.

Related:Trump calls on India to reverse 'unacceptable' tariffs

May Shakes Putin’s Hand But No Smiles (6 p.m.)

Prime Minister Theresa May met Putin for rare face-to-face talks, with both leaders trying to test the scope to thaw icy relations between Britain and Russia.

The biggest flashpoint is over the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal in southwest England last year, which May and Britain’s allies blame on Russia. Putin insists there is no proof and traded barbs with May ahead of the meeting. The British leader demanded Russia hand over the two suspects behind the attack.

When they met in a windowless room soon after 5 p.m. in Osaka, Putin offered May his hand, with a half-smile. She accepted it but looked sternly away from the Russian president to the cameras. It was not an image of a warm relationship.

May and Putin then sat opposite each other at a long table, with no other officials present except for one translator each. Putin said something to May, who replied: “We have a one-to-one first.”

Russia Invites Trump to Moscow (5:52 p.m.)

Russia has invited Donald Trump to Moscow next year for celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, a senior Kremlin official said.

“The U.S. president reacted very positively,” Kremlin foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov told Rossiya 24 state television from the G-20 summit in Osaka. He said the leaders discussed each side’s losses in World War II in their talks earlier Friday. “The contribution of the Soviet people to this victory was noted,” Ushakov said.

Related:Trump's trade aid criticized at WTO

Liu He Meets Lighthizer to Discuss Trade (5:31 p.m.)

Top trade negotiators from the U.S. and China are meeting ahead of the much-anticipated summit between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping on Saturday.

China’s top trade negotiator Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer were meeting at the Imperial Hotel in Osaka, Japan, according to an official familiar with the matter who declined to be identified. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was also in the meeting, the official said.

Lighthizer had earlier said he would meet with Liu ahead of the meeting.

U.S., Japan to Speed up Trade Talks (5:09 p.m.)

Japan Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer agreed to speed up trade talks between the countries at a meeting in Osaka.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Motegi said no timeframe would be put on the talks. Trump last month threatened to raise auto tariffs on Japan without a deal that particularly helps American farmers hurt by his trade war with China.

Merkel’s Health in Spotlight (4:31 p.m.)

A day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered another brief shaking spell during a ceremony in Berlin, questions about her health arose at the G-20 summit.

“Chancellor, how are you feeling,” one reporter shouted as she met with President Donald Trump. Merkel didn’t respond, and just looked straight into the cameras.

Trump Sends Mixed Signals Ahead of Xi Meeting (4:03 p.m.)

Trump sounded an optimistic note on trade ahead of his highly anticipated meeting with President Xi Jinping on Saturday -- but also said he hasn’t promised to withhold new tariffs on China.

“I think we have a very good chance” of doing “something” with China tomorrow on trade, Trump told reporters in a meeting with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Asked if he had pledged not to impose additional tariffs on China for six months, Trump replied: “No I haven’t promised, no.”

On Wednesday, Trump said substantial additional U.S. tariffs would be placed on goods from China if there’s no progress on a trade deal after his meeting with Xi. Stocks in Asia slipped on Friday after seeing gains in previous sessions on optimism of a truce.

“My Plan B with China is to take in billions and billions of dollars a month and we’ll do less and less business with them,” Trump said Wednesday in an interview with Fox Business Network.

India, U.S. to Restart Trade Talks (2:41 p.m.)

U.S. President Donald Trump and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi have asked officials to hold talks to resolve issues related to trade tariffs, Vijay Gokhale, foreign secretary of India, told reporters in Osaka.

The two leaders met Friday after Trump called on Modi to withdraw “unacceptable” increases in tariffs.

Xi Pledges to Further Open Markets: People’s Daily (2:32 p.m.)

China will further open its agriculture, mining, manufacturing and services sectors, the Communist Party flagship People’s Daily reported, citing President Xi Jinping’s speech at the G-20 summit. Xi vowed to further lower tariffs, remove non-tariff barriers, boost protection of intellectual property rights and treat all companies fairly, the report said.

Xi also said that nations should “properly address disputes,” without specifically mentioning his nation’s ongoing tensions with the U.S., according to the state-run Xinhua wire service. He called for innovation, and improvement of global governance.

“China is confident that it will take its own path, do its own things well, peacefully coexist with the rest of the world and achieve win-win,” Xi said. A separate commentary run by Xinhua called the Trump-Xi meeting an “opportunity to bring talks back on track.”

China’s foreign ministry said Friday that both teams are coordinating closely ahead of the Trump-Xi meeting.

“We hope the two sides will meet halfway and work together towards positive outcomes that serve the interests of both countries, and that is also the shared expectation of the world,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing.

Trump Tells Putin ‘Don’t Meddle’ in Election (2:08 p.m.)

Donald Trump lightheartedly asked Russian President Vladimir Putin not to interfere in the upcoming U.S. election during a meeting at the Group of 20 summit, their first since Special Counsel Robert Mueller documented alleged Kremlin efforts to manipulate the 2016 vote.

MBS Front and Center, All Smiles at G-20 Kickoff (12:32 p.m.)

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was given a prominent spot for the G-20 family photo, front row near the center next to Trump. He stood out on the stage and held a wide grin for much of the event.

The crown prince has been the subject of fierce international criticism since the death of journalist Jamaal Khashoggi in Turkey, and found himself on the fringes of the last family photo at the G-20 in Argentina late last year.

Trump strolled up to the family photo alongside Putin, their first interaction since Special Counsel Robert Mueller released his report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and the Trump campaign’s openness to it. Trump and Putin meet formally later Friday.

Trump also shook hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of their closely-watched sit-down on Saturday. For all the trade war bluster, the chat was brief and appeared friendly.

Xi Condemns ‘Bullying,’ Protectionism (11:01 a.m.)

China’s President Xi Jinping condemned protectionism and “bullying practices” in a meeting with African leaders ahead of the summit, according to Dai Bing, the foreign ministry’s Director General for African Affairs.

“Any attempt to put one’s own interests first and undermine others’ will not win any popularity,” Xi said, according to Dai.

The comments come a day ahead of Xi’s meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump as the leaders try to resolve their trade war, as well as other major disputes like Huawei Technologies Co. and the South China Sea.

Trump Says ‘Very Big’ Trade Deals With Japan, India (9:56 a.m.)

Trump said he expects to announce “very big” trade deals with both Japan and India at a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“I think we’re going to have some very big things to announce,” he said on India. “Very big trade deal.”

He noted he had met earlier with Modi and Japan’s Shinzo Abe. “We are also going to be announcing some very big trade transactions,” he said of Japan. He didn’t elaborate.

“They’re moving many plants, auto plants into the United States,” he said. “They announced some more this morning.”

Abe gave Trump a document titled “Japanese Investment Update” that listed Japanese companies with factories in the U.S. “Japan has FIVE additional investments in JUST ONE MONTH,” the document said, noting projects in Kentucky, Michigan, Alabama and two in Tennessee. The timing of the projects was not clear.

Trump asked his staff to share the document with U.S. reporters.

Modi expressed appreciation for Trump’s congratulations after he won re-election in May. “Given that we have a time limitation in this meeting we would like to discuss four issues,” Modi said through a translator, listing them as Iran, 5G communications networks, bilateral relations and defense relations.

Trump has created tensions with both countries by threatening to impose tariffs on Japanese car exports and by ending trade concessions for Indian exports to the U.S.

Trump: ‘No Time Pressure’ on Iran (9:26 a.m.)

President Donald Trump said there was “absolutely no time pressure” in dealing with Iran as European nations pushed to salvage what remains of the 2015 nuclear accord and avert a slide toward war.

Trump Meets Together With Abe, Modi (9:24 a.m.)

Trump held a meeting with Abe and Modi. While Trump has sparred with both leaders on trade, his administration is also seeking to join with them to counter China’s rising economic and military might in the region.

“We’ll be talking about trade,” Trump said as reporters were ushered out of the room. “It will be very positive.”

Ahead of the G-20, Trump complained in a tweet about India raising tariffs on American exports. He ignored that the move was retaliation for the U.S. president acting earlier this month to end trade concessions on $6.3 billion of Indian goods. New Delhi raised tariffs on Wisconsin-based Harley-Davidson Inc. motorcycles to as much as 100%, striking directly at a state the president considers crucial to his re-election next year.

I look forward to speaking with Prime Minister Modi about the fact that India, for years having put very high Tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the Tariffs even further. This is unacceptable and the Tariffs must be withdrawn!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2019

Trump, Abe to ‘Deepen and Expand’ Alliance (8:41 a.m.)

Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe “confirmed their intent to deepen and expand U.S.-Japan alliance cooperation around the globe,” the White House said in a readout after their meeting in Osaka.

Trump has recently mused to confidants about withdrawing from the longstanding defense treaty with Japan, Bloomberg reported earlier this week, in his latest complaint about what he sees as unfair U.S. security pacts.

Trump Talks Trade With Abe (8:35 a.m.)

Trump met with Japan’s Abe, their second meeting in as many months after the U.S. president in May became the first foreign leader to meet Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito. Trump said the meeting would focus on trade, an area of disagreement between the longtime allies.

Trump mentioned that he appreciates the jobs that Japanese car companies create in the U.S., a point that Abe’s administration has raised consistently as the U.S. threatens to raise auto tariffs.

--With assistance from Peter Martin, Jon Herskovitz, Ilya Arkhipov, Shawn Donnan, Nick Wadhams, Isabel Reynolds, Yuko Takeo, Shoko Oda, Haze Fan, Gregory Viscusi, Samy Adghirni and Cagan Koc.

To contact the reporters on this story:

Margaret Talev in Washington at [email protected];

Jennifer Jacobs in Washington at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story:

Daniel Ten Kate at [email protected]

Alex Wayne

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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