Trump was still scheduled to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but analysts were not optimistic about prospects for a major breakthrough on the two countries' trade disputes a month before USA tariffs on Chinese goods are set to ramp up.
The WTO has fallen victim to Trump's trade war on economic rival China and the United States has put pressure on the WTO itself to reform.
"China needs to accept the reality that they can no longer play as an emerging market that needs protection", Fernandez said. China defines itself as a developing country that should be entitled to better treatment in global trade than more developed countries.
Despite deep divisions going into the summit and resistance from the U.S., European Union officials said Saturday that countries also are making progress on a final statement that will acknowledge problems with the World Trade Organization but commit to reforming it. "Now, this task is even more urgent" because trade protectionist measures are on the rise and the 2018 global commodity trade turnover is expected to shrink, he said. "We call on all members to oppose such WTO-inconsistent measures, stand by their commitments undertaken in the WTO".
The US government has slapped tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods to force concessions that would change the terms of trade between the world's two largest economies.
The officials weren't authorized to be named speaking about the closed-door discussions and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Growing concerns that the trade war will increasingly hurt corporate earnings and the US economy are a key reason why USA stock prices have been sinking this fall.
For the wider G20 meeting, consensus is proving elusive.
The first day of the G20 summit offered glimmers of hope for progress between Washington and Beijing despite Trump's earlier threat of new tariffs, which would increase tensions already weighing on the growth of the global economy.
Will there be a joint G20 communiqué?
After imposing punishing tariffs on Chinese goods and threatening more to come in January, Trump also has China in his sights as he prepares to meet President Xi Jinping on the G20 margins.
Even before he arrived in Buenos Aires, Trump down graded his time at the G20, canceling a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin - citing Russian aggression toward the Ukraine - and down grading two meetings with USA allies to "pull asides" - a diplomatic term for an more informal gathering.
After the meeting, the PMO tweeted that the two leaders held productive discussions. One French source said Macron was trying to build an anti-Trump front with a separate statement embraced by "progressive countries". The Kremlin said it was willing to be "patient" in arranging a meeting with Trump.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: "Everyone agrees that the WTO should be reformed".
The presence of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the summit also made waves amid swirling controversy over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. "We ratify the concern of everyone over climate change", Macri said.
Asked about the European concerns, a US official said progress was being made on the joint statement and the White House was "optimistic" about the document as a whole.
"What's most realistic to expect is that China and the United States come to an agreement on the basis of the dialogue and on the basis of the negotiations, because that has broken down".
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman high-fived each other at the beginning of the G20 forum. Putin reportedly pulled out a pen and paper to sketch the skirmish in the meeting, Bloomberg reported. Saudi Arabia has blamed "rogue agents" but suspicion has fallen on the prince for ordering the killing.
Meanwhile, oil markets anticipated a bilateral meeting between Putin and Prince Mohammed on Saturday for a sign that Russian Federation will participate in a production cut by the OPEC oil cartel next month.
Growing concerns that the trade war would increasingly hurt corporate earnings and the U.S. economy are a key reason why United States stock prices have been sinking this fall.