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While the U.S. president has indicated a willingness to reach an agreement with Xi, he said in an interview with The Washington Post, "I think that China wants to make a deal very badly", adding that if an agreement isn't reached, "we'll be taking in billions and billions of dollars a month in tariffs, and I'm OK with either one of those two situations".

"There's a good possibility that we can make a deal, and he is open to it", Kudlow said.

Global leaders arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Thursday (Nov 29) for the weekend's Group of 20 (G-20) leaders' summit, amid disagreements between major powers over issues such as trade and geopolitical flashpoints. China has imposed retaliatory tariffs on around $US110 billion of United States goods.

The United States and Mexico are expected to sign the USMCA trade deal at the global gathering, and Freeland was questioned whether or not it was still Canada's intention to join them, given the outstanding steel and aluminum tariffs.

Trump has scheduled a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week ahead of the potential implementation of a 25-percent import tariff on Chinese goods set to begin January 1.

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The United States has levied additional duties of between 10 percent and 25 percent on $250 billion of Chinese goods this year as punishment for what it calls China's unfair trade practices, with the 10 percent tariffs set to climb to 25 percent next year.

Therefore, although the leaders of the 20 largest economies are gathering in Buenos Aires for the G20 summit, aimed at encouraging talk about the health of the global economy, the outcome of the Trump-Xi dialogue will be the main focus.

Peter Navarro, Trump's hardline trade adviser, will attend the meeting between the leaders, a US official told Reuters.

Mr. Donald Trump will also meet Argentine President Mauricio Macri on Friday and is expected to participate in the signing of the new trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, known as T-MEC.

Trump on Tuesday threatened to cancel his planned talks with Putin at the G20 summit, but the Kremlin said it still expected the encounter to go ahead.

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Peter Nicholls/ReutersDemonstrators float a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump, in Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018.

It must still be ratified by lawmakers in all three countries, and passage in the USA could face a tough road in the House of Representatives after Democrats won a majority in November midterm elections.

"I think the most likely scenario is that [Chinese President] Xi Jinping doesn't offer big enough concessions to Trump, and so nothing much comes of the G20 meeting", said Julian Evans-Pritchard from Capital Economics.

Merkel's office says she and a small delegation, including the finance minister, took a different government plane to Madrid on Friday morning, and then boarded a commercial flight to Buenos Aires. Xu told a small group of reporters in Beijing on Tuesday, adding that China accounts for at least half of the market for many US listed companies. "We have had a good stretch of solid growth by historical standards, but now we are facing a period where significant risks are materializing and darker clouds are looming", she said.

For Trump, there was no escape from the lengthening shadow of the United States investigation over Russian meddling in his 2016 election, which is now reaching into his business affairs.

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