Asia-Pacific

Tariffs on ice amid renewed US-China talks

President Donald Trump says he's ready for productive trade talks with China's President Xi Jinping. (AAP)

The US has agreed to refrain from raising levies on Chinese imports for now, while China would buy more US agricultural products as trade tensions recede.

US President Donald Trump says he and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have agreed the US would refrain from raising levies on Chinese imports for now while China would buy more US agricultural products.

"We're holding back on tariffs and they're going to buy farm products," Trump told a news conference after a two-day G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

But Trump said tariffs already in place against Chinese imports would remain, with stalled trade talks to resume "where we left off".

The day's truce by the world's two biggest economies offered some relief to gathered leaders, as the year-long trade war has cost companies billions, snarled global manufacturing and supply chains and worried financial markets.

Taking place on the sidelines of the G20, the China-US meeting was the centrepiece of four days of diplomacy for Trump, whose re-election chances have been put at risk by the trade war.

At a later meeting with Turkey's president, Trump said the sit-down with Xi went "probably even better than expected."

Seated across a lengthy table flanked by top aides, both leaders struck a cautiously optimistic tone ahead of the bilateral meeting, having greeted each other and posed for photographs.

"We've had an excellent relationship," Trump told Xi as the meeting opened, "but we want to do something that will even it up with respect to trade."

Xi, for his part, recounted the era of "ping-pong diplomacy" which helped jump-start US-China relations two generations ago.

Since then, Xi said, "one basic fact remains unchanged: China and the United States both benefit from cooperation and lose in confrontation."

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