The first day of the World Economic Forum had just one protagonist: Xi Jinping is the first Chinese president to address the Davos forum. He delivered the opening address of the four-day event - which gathers 3,000 global leaders to discuss economic, humanitarian and social issues - by focusing almost entirely on globalization. There is ''no point in blaming economic globalisation for the world’s problems'', Xi asserted, adding that even though ''the global economy continues to underperform and sustainable growth is hard to maintain'', growth drivers ''will emerge'' along with a path out of the wildnernesss that ''remains elusive''. It is thus necessary to ''rebalance globalization'' to make it ''stronger, more inclusive, more sustainable''. He added that ''Any attempt to reverse the flow of capital, technology and products would be an attempt to turn back history''.
China's point of view
#Xi at #Davos: ''No point blaming #globalization for the world's problems''
The Chinese president admitted that globalization has not always enjoyed popularity in his own country. ''China also had its doubts about globalization, but we came to the conclusion that integration is a historical process''. Xi went on to say that China has since learned to swim, ''the right strategic choice. Whether you like it or not, the global economy is the big ocean from which you cannot escape''. He also had strong words against protectionism – ''Pursuing protectionism is just like locking one's self in a dark room'' – and affirmed his opposition to starting trade wars. ''No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war'', he asserted. He also reassured his audience that China does not intend to seek a competitive edge by devaluing the Chinese national currency, the renminbi. Many are reading the speech as a warning to US president-elect Donald Trump, who will be inaugurated on Friday. Trump advisor Anthony Scaramucci, who attended the Davos forum, was quick to comment: ''I don’t think either the US or China wants a trade war. On the contrary, Trump could be the savior of globalization. We just need to create more symmetry in the agreements we signed in the 1970s''. He added, ''Trump is a great leader and will succeed in maintaining good relations with everbody''.
The climate deal
Climate change was also an important focus of the Chinese president’s speech. ''The Paris agreement is a great step forward that all signatories should stick to'', he stated, adding that it is “a responsibility we must assume for future generations.”
Xi also had strong words against protectionism and trade wars: ''Pursuing protectionism is just like locking one's self in a dark room''.