World leaders arriving to pivotal G-20 summit in Argentina

This was a first in the organisation's history, underlining the gravity and over-reaching impacts of the deepening tensions between the U.S. and China.

In an interview with Reuters, China's ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai said China did not want to have a trade war and sought a negotiated solution to the impasse.

Trump heads to Buenos Aires on Thursday for a Group of 20 summit that is confronted with increasingly dire warnings, by the International Monetary Fund among others, of the potential harm faced by the world economy from the president's trade wars. Two-way trade reached 13.8 billion USA dollars previous year.

Trump said that the trade with China has been a awful one-way street with a deficit of at a minimum $375 billion a year.

A Reuters poll on Wednesday showed China's factories likely struggled to grow for a second straight month in November as cooling demand at home and the threat of higher US tariffs stifled new orders.

The Donald Trump administration's strict stance on reaching trade parity with trading partners is expected to bring neighbours India and China closer on the global stage, senior government officials said.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Trump said that the only deal he would take from China would be to open up to U.S. competition.

The dinner with Xi is scheduled as one of the last events on Trump's itinerary there before he returns to Washington, Kudlow said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming state visit to Argentina will further consolidate the two countries' comprehensive strategic partnership, said Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie.

"We have had a good stretch of solid growth by historical standards, but now we are facing a period where significant risks are materialising and darker clouds are looming", she said. Shipments to the United States accounted for 21 percent of cars manufactured in Korea and 33 percent of all exported vehicles.

In recent months the United States and China have been engaged in rather heated negotiations regarding global trade deals, and the U.S. has leveraged tariffs in an attempt to gain the upper hand.

Companies reporting third-quarter results in the past month have discussed raising prices come January, especially if the higher tariffs are imposed as threatened.

Meanwhile, SsangYong Motors, which initially planned to enter the United States market around 2020, declined to comment on the impact of the Trump administration's auto tariff and said that it has no concrete plan yet to build a plant in the U.S. or to export vehicles manufactured here.

And there will be "enormous benefits" from free trade, he said.

China now imposes a 40 percent tariff on US automobiles, while the United States has a 27.5 percent tariff on Chinese vehicles.

On the South Lawn of the White House as he prepared to depart for the trip, Trump laid out his thinking about the possibility of a deal with China.

While the Trump Administration is worrying about consumer reaction, Donald Trump suggested a 10% increase of the price wont change much and “people could stand that very easily”.

"Perhaps we can break through in Buenos Aires or not", he said.

"If we don't make a deal, then I'm going to put the $200 - and it's really $67 - billion additional on at an interest rate between 10 and 25 depending", he said.

"Watch this space, as he (Trump) would say", Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra ahead of jetting off to Buenos Aires for the two-day gathering.

  • David Armstrong