China's commerce minister says the outlook for the global economy remains grim despite its gradual recovery from the impact of the financial crisis.

Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng's comments underscore growing concerns about the global economy, which have deepened since the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, raising fears of a global recession.

Gao did not mention Brexit in his opening remarks at a meeting of trade ministers in Shanghai on Saturday held in the run-up to China's hosting of the G20 summit later this year. He said governments should work together to find ways to revitalize growth.

China faces pressure to shrink bloated industries including steel, which its trading partners complain is flooding their markets with unfairly cheap exports, hurting their producers and threatening jobs.