World leaders were converging this weekend on Buenos Aires, Argentina, transfixing politicians and markets worldwide. The Group of Twenty, or G20, summit represents the world’s largest economies; the nations there account for more than 80 percent 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 Donald Trump was preparing for a one-on-one dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two leaders are meeting to resolve the ongoing trade war between their nations. Stakes are high, as both leaders’ reputations are on the line, and 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.
Russian talks on ice
Trump had planned to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin as well, but abruptly canceled those talks Thursday morning. In a tweet, Trump cited recent Russian belligerence against Ukraine as the reason for the cancellation. However, Trump’s domestic critics charge that he canceled the meeting due to rising pressures coming from the Robert Mueller probe after Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about Trump’s business dealings with Russia.
Either way, a military standoff between Ukraine and Russia looms 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 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.
— Walt and Alex Breitinger are commodity futures brokers with Paragon Investments in Silver Lake, Kansas. This is not a solicitation of any order to buy or sell any market.