Geographies in Depth

China's Xi Jinping defends globalization from the Davos stage

Professor Klaus Schwab with welcomes President Xi Jinping to Davos Image: Manuel Lopez

Ceri Parker
Previously Commissioning Editor, Agenda, World Economic Forum
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China

This article is part of: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

China’s President Xi Jinping defended economic globalization in his first speech to the World Economic Forum at Davos.

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“It is true that economic globalization has created new problems. But this is no justification to write off economic globalization altogether. Rather we should adapt to and guide globalization, cushion its negative impact, and deliver its benefits to all countries and all nations,” he said.

At a time when protectionist and nationalist forces are on the rise in the West, President Xi warned against making globalization a scapegoat.

“Some people blame economic globalization for the chaos in our world. Economic globalization was once viewed as the treasure cave found by Ali Baba in the Arabian nights, but now it has become the Pandora’s Box.”

However, the world’s problems could not simply be laid at globalization’s door, from the “heart-breaking” refugee crisis to the financial crisis.

“The international financial crisis is another example, it is not an inevitable outcome of economic globalization, rather it is the consequence of the excessive chase of profit by financial capital and a great failure of financial regulation,” he said.

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President Xi said that “the global economy is the big ocean you cannot escape from” and that China had “learned how to swim.”

After 38 years of reform and opening up, China has become the world’s second-largest economy. “China’s development is an opportunity for the world. China has not only benefited from economic globalization but also contributed to it,” he said.

Looking ahead, President Xi warned against protectionism.

“We should commit ourselves to growing an open global economy,” he said. “No one will emerge as the winner in a trade war.”

He added:

"China has no intention to boost its trade development by devaluing the Renminbi still less by launching a currency war"

The speech ended with a plea for cooperation in turbulent times:

“World history shows that the road of human civilization has never been a smooth one and that mankind has made progress by surmounting difficulty. No difficulty, however daunting, will stop mankind from advancing. When encountering difficulty we should not complain, blame others, or run away from responsibilities ... Instead we should join hands and rise to the challenge. History is made by the brave.”

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Related topics:
Geographies in DepthEconomic Growth
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