Davos, Jan 18: In his maiden address to the World Economic Forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping defended the process of globalisation and attacked protectionism.
The World Economic Forum is being held in the Swiss Alps resort bringing together the topmost business executives political leaders across the world to discuss the most pressing issues confronting the global community.
The ongoing 47th meeting of the World Economic Forum is scheduled to end on Friday. The meeting is being held against the background of lingering global economic crisis compounded by growing divisions and populism in Europe and the impending change in the US administration with President-elect Donald Trump taking over from Barack Obama on January 20. Trump has made his intentions clear that he wanted to take care of the US economy and save the US Jobs.
Donald Trump has promised to slap tariffs on products from Mexico and China, accusing the latter of manipulating its currency, the Yuan, to give its products an unfair advantage.
Faced with isolationism, protectionism and populism Xi Jinping defended the benefits of globalisation and the free market.
“Those who push for protectionism are shutting themselves inside a dark house. They have escaped the rain and clouds outside, but also missed the sunshine,” Xi said. Any efforts to try to prevent globalisation would not succeed, he added.
He also said that the China would not devalue the Yuan and will continue to be open to foreign investment.
Despite the problems associated with globalisation, such as uneven development, there was “no point” in blaming it for the 2008 international financial crisis, Xi said.
For some analysts at the forum, who preferred anonymity, Xi’s nice words, are a smoke screen.
For a while, EU foreign ministers have been urging China to remove limits on foreign investment. As for protectionism, Chinese goods benefit from state aid that reduces substantially their price. What is more, the Yuan itself was devalued by 7 per cent this year alone, the highest appreciation since 1994.
Xi Jinping arrived in Switzerland on Sunday. In Bern, the Swiss capital, hundreds of Swiss and Tibetans protested outside the country’s parliament with signs and banners calling for a “Free Tibet” and “Don’t deal with killers” Swiss authorities had limited the duration of the protest in central Bern to two hours before Xi’s arrival. Scores of protesters refused to comply, and 32 were detained.
At noon, police also prevented a man from setting himself on fire. He was treated by medical staff.