National

Australia forges alliance on US-China spat

By AAP Newswire

Australia has joined three international allies in urging the United States and China to end their long-running trade war.

The treasurers and finance ministers of Australia, Canada, Indonesia and Singapore have warned the risk of collateral damage from the protracted dispute between the economic heavyweights is growing.

The ministers said the trade stoush was fuelling uncertainty and volatility in global financial markets, contributing to a slowdown in trade, business investment and manufacturing activity.

"While respecting each country's domestic priorities, we should be clear that protecting free and open markets will ensure stronger growth and greater prosperity for all," they said in a joint statement on Friday.

"We must not resort to unilateralism and protectionism. Pursuing confrontation over dialogue will only exacerbate risks, erode confidence and weaken the prospect of global economic recovery."

The four-nation alliance said a financial safety net established after World War II had ensured shared economic success.

"The multilateral system provides the economic and political security to allow both big and small countries to fulfil their tremendous potential," the ministers said.

"As beneficiaries of this system, we have a responsibility to safeguard the institutions that have led to our shared economic success. We need to work together to forge consensus on pressing global challenges."

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set to resume peace talks next month.