The official summit statement acknowledges flaws in global commerce and calls for reforming the World Trade Organization.
"But in terms of doing a deal. that's entirely up to the president of the United States and the president of China".
Laura Jaitman, the Argentine Treasury official shepherding the G-20's financing talks, said leaders had made progress on finance and trade and was hopeful a joint statement would be possible.
The prince was also seen chatting with President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka, although in a nod to USA domestic outrage over Saudi Arabia, the White House downplayed the encounter.
Trump has made a decision to pull the United States from the Paris accord on curbing carbon emissions, despite mounting warnings from scientists leading up to a UN climate summit starting next week in Poland.
Michael Shifter, head of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think tank, said that this G-20 summit was once considered an opportunity for Latin American members Argentina, Brazil and Mexico "to project a regional bloc to shape a global agenda".
Trump has accused China of rampant theft of U.S. technology and demanded that the emerging power end its requirements that foreign companies team up with local partners. They also scaled back their expectations, cutting out mention of rising protectionism - mainly aimed at Trump.
One EU official told reporters that the G-20 summit's final statement is likely to reflect 19 members supporting the Paris climate accord with the USA stating its opposition to it. Those, and his tariffs on Chinese imports, have drawn retaliatory tariffs, and represent the kind of dispute the WTO was created to help resolve.
Although the new pact inherits key features from the old one, Trump has declared it a victory for the U.S. workers he claims were cheated by NAFTA and on Friday called it the most "modern and balanced agreement in history".
Meanwhile Wang Xiaolong, director general of the Foreign Ministry's department of global economic affairs, said negotiations between Chinese and United States officials were making some progress. So they came up with "minimalist" language that acknowledges growing migrant flows and the importance of shared efforts to support refugees and solve the problems that drive them to flee.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly about the closed-door discussions.
US stocks closed higher on Friday on hopes that a deal could be reached.
There was an implicit contrast in some of the tributes offered at the Buenos Aires summit between Bush and the current White House occupant, Donald Trump, whose disruptive brand of diplomacy has stoked the deepest divisions in the G20´s 10-year history. China demands the United States stop sending ships and military aircraft close to islands Beijing claims in the South China Sea. "We'll see", he said.
Trump is known for his habit of making harsh statements followed by the business-like approach, so it's still unclear whether there will be some kind of interaction between Russian and American leaders on the margins of G20.
One of the leaders Mr Putin was scheduled to have more formal bi-lateral talks with was German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Russian Federation captured three Ukrainian naval vessels and 24 personnel in the Black Sea this week after accusing them of trespassing.
Many were not convinced, asking whether Trump's snub of Putin was more due to growing discomfort over the probe into his allegedly improper contacts with Moscow than outrage over Ukraine.
The planned dinner between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping on Saturday will be closely watched.
President Donald Trump raised the prospect of slapping a 25 percent tariff on imported cars and ordered a review of China's retaliatory auto tariffs against the U.S.as his administration continued to scramble to respond to General Motors Co.'s announcement of plant closures this week.
More moderate aides such as Mnuchin and National Economic Council chairman Larry Kudlow have advocated for easing trade tensions with China, offering warnings that escalating the trade war would only make matters worse, and allow Trump's critics to pin even more of the blame for a shaky economy on him.
This was meant to be a big moment for Argentina. "If they are able to begin to agree, it would be a good signal that would reduce the impacts on global commerce".
The pair high-fived and shared a laugh, as the leaders of 19 countries and the European Union came together to hear the summit's opening remarks from Argentina's President Mauricio Macri.