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The Senate last month passed legislation that would would make it more difficult for the U.S. government to avoid retaliating against China. But House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, called the measure “dangerous” and said the Obama administration should act more forcefully as a matter of policy. Critics say the move could spark a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.

White House officials said before the conference they intended to press the Chinese and rally world support on the subject, saying a rise in the value of the Chinese yuan would boost domestic demand in China and provide a boost to the world economy.

The senior U.S. official in Cannes did not say what leverage other countries would have to compel China to act.

As if to underscore the pervasive gloom of the two-day summit, Mr. Obama concluded his time in France while standing in the pouring rain with French President Nicholas Sarzoky at an outdoor ceremony to honor both nation’s troops for liberating Libya from the regime of Col. Moammar Gadhafi.