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G20 promises on economy, but little concrete steps

State leaders take part in a group photo session for the G20 Summit held at the Hangzhou International Expo Center in Hangzhou in eastern China on, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. (AP)

Leaders from the world’s top economies broadly agreed at a summit in China on Monday to coordinate macroeconomic policies, but few concrete proposals emerged to meet growing challenges to globalization and free trade.

At the two-day gathering in the scenic Chinese city of Hangzhou, the world’s most powerful leaders also agreed to oppose protectionism, with Chinese President Xi Jinping urging major economies to drive growth through innovation, not just fiscal and monetary measures.

“We aim to revive growth engines of international trade and investment,” Xi said in a closing statement. “We will support multilateral trade mechanisms and oppose protectionism to reverse declines in global trade.”

Discussions at the meeting were distracted by North Korea test-firing three medium-range ballistic missiles in a defiant reminder of the risks to global security. The United States tried but failed to finalize a deal with Russia for a ceasefire in Syria on the sidelines of the summit.

Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a longer-than-expected discussion about whether, and how, they could agree on a deal, a senior US administration official said.

But in talks earlier on Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were unable to come to terms on a ceasefire for the second time in two weeks, although they will meet again this week.

The G20 called for the formation of a global forum to take steps to address steel excess capacity and encourage adjustments, the White House said in a statement, one of the controversial issues discussed at the summit.

China produces half the world’s annual output of 1.6 billion tonnes of steel and has struggled to decrease its estimated 300 million tonne overcapacity, and rising prices have given companies there an incentive to boost production for export.

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Last Update: Tuesday, 6 September 2016 KSA 08:27 - GMT 05:27
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G20 promises on economy, but little concrete steps
Few concrete proposals emerge in Hangzhou to meet growing challenges to globalization and free trade
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