China’s President Xi Jinping delivered a detailed defence of economic globalization in an opening address delivered at the World Economic Forum in Davos this morning.
In an oratorical sweep that took in everything from the Paris climate agreement to the cause of the 2008 financial crisis, the president proposed that global governance models – while unarguably broken in many respects – should not be discarded. “There’s no point blaming economic globalization for the world’s problems,” he said, “as that is simply not the case.”
Since Donald Trump’s election victory, China has emerged as a potential new leader on the global stage – and today's address does little to soften the impression that President Xi is taking an increasingly assertive stance on matters of global trade and climate change.
Here are some of the key quotes from the speech.
“We should recede from our respective national positions and embark on the right pathway towards economic globalization at the right pace.”
Innovation was also a hot topic
"We should develop a dynamic, innovation-driven growth model."
"The Fourth Industrial Revolution is unfolding at an exponential rather than a linear pace."
Xi Jinping's view of international collaboration
"Countries have the right to development, but they should view their own interests in the broader context. And refrain from pursuing their own interests at the expense of others."
“We should not develop a habit of retreating to the harbour whenever we encounter a storm, for this will never get us to the other side of the ocean."
"Any attempts to cut off flows … and channel the waters of the ocean back into lakes and creeks is simply not possible and runs against historical trends."
"No one will emerge as the winner in a trade war."
And on the subject of global trade
"We must promote trade and investment, liberalization and facilitation through opening up – and say no to protectionism."
"China has no intention to boost its trade development by devaluing the renminbi ... still less by launching a currency war."
There were also some pointed announcements on climate change
"It is important to protect the environment while pursuing economic and social progress – to achieve harmony between man and nature, and harmony between man society."
Finally, on China's evolution into the world's second-largest economy and the lessons learned along the way
"We Chinese know only too well what it takes to achieve prosperity so we applaud the achievements of others and we wish them a better future. We are not jealous of others' success and we will not complain about the others who have benefited. We will welcome them aboard the express train of Chinese development."