Trump talks tough to China before G20 meeting

US President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he departs for travel to Argentina and the G20 Summit from the White House in Washingt

"But its functioning has been different from a usual North-South or East-West divide, because we see very loose coalitions operating, depending on the issue being discussed", former foreign secretary Shyam Saran said.

Trump did add, later in the interview, "Here's the bottom line: We're going to make a great deal with China".

The self-described "nationalist" president's latest foray into global diplomacy will feature a double main event: A dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping during which the conversational entree will be a nasty trade dispute, and a second one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin that will capture the attention of the world following a July summit that brought bipartisan scorn over Trump's seeming deference to the former KGB spymaster.

The Trump administration has levied 25 percent tariffs on Chinese goods worth more than $34bn in July.

"His intention is to contain China", the source said.

The country's policies on auto tariffs are "especially egregious", taxing United States cars at more than double the rate it charges other countries.

Trump has used particularly strong language to describe US-China relations."We can't continue to allow China to rape our country, and that's what they're doing".

Trump said on Twitter that the 25 percent tariff placed on imported pickup trucks and commercial vans from markets outside North America in the 1960s had long boosted USA vehicle production.

A decade on, that unity has vanished as the "America First" Trump shreds the consensus underpinning global trade and other G20 countries such as Brazil, Italy and Mexico turn to populist leaders. But she added that "a tradeable risk bounce on a paper deal at G20 will be unlikely to reverse sentiment structurally as the underlying US-China relationship is still deteriorating". Yes, most Apple products including iPhones have so far been excluded from tariffs on Chinese goods, but even Apple's mighty influence with the US government can't win the company a permanent reprieve from trade war pain.

Absent some agreement, the rate of the existing tariffs on US$200 billion (NZ$291 billion) of China's exports to the USA will rise from 10 per cent to 25 per cent from January 1.

Donald Trump is scheduled to arrive in Buenos Aires on Thursday evening, where more than 20,000 law enforcement personnel are deployed in a country ravaged by the economic crisis, while anti-G20 protests are scheduled.

"We believe that domestic demand is likely to be sufficiently robust so as to keep imports elevated even after any additional tariffs", Sriram said.

Putin insisted on Wednesday that Russian forces were in the right to seize the Ukrainian ships last weekend, but Trump expressed "deep concern" at Moscow's actions against a United States ally. "I'm open to making a deal, but frankly, I like the deal we have right now".

Separately, Trump hinted Wednesday that he's looking into imposing tariffs on auto imports, a day after threatening to slash federal subsidies to General Motors.

The warning from National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow comes ahead of the two leaders' high-stakes sit-down Saturday in Argentina.

Additionally, Trump said that he expects to boost tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese products to 25 percent in January.

"I think we're very close to doing something with China, but I don't know that I want to do it, because what we have right now is billions and billions of dollars coming into the United States in the form of tariffs or taxes", Trump told reporters as he departed the White House to travel to the G-20.

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