HANGZHOU, China — Chinese President Xi Jinping called Sunday for leaders of the United States, Germany and other major economies to resist pressure to raise trade barriers as they opened a summit amid sluggish global growth and disputes over China's steel exports and Apple's Irish tax bill.
China made trade a theme of the Group of 20 meeting even as Beijing faces complaints it is flooding world markets with low-cost steel, fueling demands for trade curbs. The president of the European Commission highlighted the conflict by calling for the summit to take action.
Opening the two-day meeting in this lakeside city southwest of Shanghai, Xi called for more innovation to spur economic growth and reforms to global financial and economic management. He appealed for cooperation in taxes, anticorruption and measures to "improve the ability of the world economy to resist risks."
Chinese officials said earlier that Beijing would propose a plan to boost trade and innovation through regulatory changes and closer government cooperation.
"We should build an open world economy," Xi said before an audience that included President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May and leaders from Japan, South Korea, India and other governments.
China hopes to use its status as this year's G-20 leader to increase its influence in global economic management. Chinese officials say they want the G-20, created to coordinate the response to the 2008 financial crisis, to take on a longer-term regulatory role.
The World Trade Organization is forecasting this year's global trade growth at an anemic 2.8 percent — its fifth straight year below 3 percent.
Leaders at the meeting have said they will call for "inclusive growth" — a reference to efforts to defuse pressure to protect local industries by spreading the benefits of global integration to millions of people who have been left behind by wrenching changes.
The head of the European Union's governing body called for action on China's bloated steel industry. The G-20 meeting "must urgently find a solution" to excess steel production, said Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission.
Juncker also rejected U.S. criticism of the order for Ireland to collect $14.5 billion in back taxes from Apple. An EU panel ruled that Apple improperly received government aid in the form of tax rates that were lower than those paid by other companies.