While the summit officially began with a digital economy meeting, the attendees’ expectations remained focused on how to solve the U.S. trade war with China. This ongoing trade war has increased the risks of further reducing global economic growth.
"China has consistently believed in resolving the trade issues through dialogue... China has conducted 11 rounds of high-level consultations with the U.S. side since last year... However, the U.S. side made three U-turns on their promises and continued to escalate trade tensions through tariffs, which caused serious setbacks to negotiations," China Radio International stated at the start of the summit.
In the corridors, there are bilateral meetings between the leaders of the G20, a group which includes Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the U.S., the U.K. and the European Union (EU).
Xi asked the G20 members to bridge the international digital divide, promote sustainable development and apply the “balanced interests” principle for all countries.
"In China, a global player in the digital economy, we are committed to fostering international cooperation and keeping our markets open," President Xi said.
Trump, who avoided making direct references to the U.S. sanctions against Huawei, presented the "reliability and security of 5G telecommunications networks" as the central problem to be solved in order to achieve "shared freedom and prosperity".
The U.S. "will continue to oppose data, locations and policies that have been used to restrict digital commerce flows and violate intellectual property," he said.
Market speculation created a giant Trump bubble to explode as true impacts of your #EconomicIdiot trade war, tariffs, massive tax increases on 80% of Americans & fools policy on immigration & environment exacerbate our current labor shortage & bankrupt farmers-#PopGoesTheWeaselpic.twitter.com/1eBMX5zSue
On Saturday, President Trump and President Xi are expected to meet on the sidelines of the G20 Summit to discuss trade-related disputes between their countries.
The G20, whose inaugural meeting was held on Dec. 1999 in Berlin, is a governance forum which seeks to achieve international coordination on economic policies.
In order to do so, it also includes central bank governors and representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The last top meeting of the G20 took place in Nov. 2018 in Buenos Aires, where the Argentineans held massive demonstrations against the presence of right-wing leaders such as Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, France's President Emmanuel Macron and Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto.
On that occasion, protests were harshly cracked down by orders of President Mauricio Macri, who also faced the citizens’ dissatisfaction for an economic crisis which has brought about the highest unemployment and inflation rates in the last decades.