The Chinese premier Xi Jinping, has championed globalisation in a speech in Davos, Switzerland. He warned Trump that China would look to usurp America’s traditional role of open markets and free trade, should the president-elect start putting up trade barriers.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) he took several side swipes at Trump’s protectionist viewpoint, without mentioning Trump by name.
This was the first speech at the annual Davos meeting of global and political business leaders by a Chinese president. Xi said he would keep China’s borders open, stressed there would be no winners in a trade war, and that all countries should honour the 2015 Paris climate change accord.
Xi also outlined that should America become more isolationist, then China would take its role. He said, “Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room. Wind and rain may be kept outside, but so is light and air.”
Donald Trump campaigned on a platform of important tariffs levelled at Mexico and China.
Xi pointed out that although globalisation is seen as a “Pandora’s Box” it is not the root cause of the world’s problems. He said that the 2008 financial crash was the result of excessive pursuit of profit.
Dr Nariman Behravesh, chief economist of IHS Markit, said, “President Xi gave a very rigorous and articulate defence of globalisation.
“Very importantly, he made commitments about opening China up to more imports and foreign direct investment and making sure that China’s exchange rate policy didn’t destabilise the global economy. All this is very encouraging.
“However, actions speak louder than words. A lot will depend on what China does. This is a good start. This is a good set of commitments on his part. It is encouraging, but we will see what the follow-through is.”
Xi’s speech was largely well received by many in attendance.