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Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The G20 summit in Buenos Aires exceeded all expectations. No one thought Donald Trump had prepared for his dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but somehow an agreement was hashed out that calls a 90-day truce to the trade war between the two countries. The planned tariff hike on Chinese goods from 10% to 25% will no longer happen on Jan. 1 as scheduled. Instead, a more normal set of trade negotiations will commence.

Why it matters: Score one for the globalists: This is a win for NEC Director Larry Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; it's a loss for White House trade hawk Peter Navarro. But "90 days is a short time," says Axios' Jonathan Swan. "Trump has hedged and could easily reverse."

Background: The G20 was created in 1999 by Sheryl Sandberg's then-boss Larry Summers. It expanded the G7 democracies to include countries like Russia, China, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. Rich, yes, but also places where it is far from self-evident that all men are created equal.

Agreeing on the final communiqué wasn't easy. The G20 is no bastion of liberalism, as is evidenced by the viral video of Vladimir Putin gleefully high-fiving the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Still the G20 ended up commending "an agenda that is people-centred, inclusive and forward-looking." Among other pieties in the official statement from the likes of China and Saudi Arabia:

  • "Gender equality is crucial for economic growth and fair and sustainable development."
  • "We remain committed to prevent and fight corruption and lead by example."

The bottom line: The purpose of creating the G20 was to bring the world's biggest powers together, and this year's installment has shown how effective that can be. Liberal values might be under threat, but at least everyone in Argentina continued to pay lip service to those values — and to cooperate where they could.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Trump blasts “wacky” GOP Sen. Cassidy after “Axios on HBO” interview

Former President Trump on Monday blasted Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) after he told "Axios on HBO" that he is not sure Trump could win the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Driving the news: When told that Trump could be expected to win the nomination, Cassidy jumped in saying: "I don't know that."

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2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's carbon emissions-cutting pledge faces tough climb

Image from the Rhodium Group study "Pathways to Paris." Courtesy of the Rhodium Group.

The verdict is in: President Biden's U.S. emissions-cutting pledge isn't a fantasy, but the path to meeting it is very difficult and relies on forces outside of White House control.

Driving the news: The Rhodium Group just released an analysis of policy combinations that could close the gap between the current U.S. trajectory and Biden's vow under the Paris Agreement to cut emissions in half by 2030.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Johnson & Johnson pulls the trigger on Texas talc gambit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It's official: Johnson & Johnson has invoked a Texas legal loophole in an attempt to protect the bulk of its corporate assets from claims that its baby powder caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

Why it matters: It's the biggest and boldest invocation yet of the so-called Texas two-step defense. But it's still not clear whether it's going to work.