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Xi Jinping opens Davos by calling for multilateralism: “the world will never be what it was in the past”

“In China we have managed to eradicate extreme poverty and we are following the path towards a modern socialist country,” he said. Now they want to promote an economic globalization “more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all”

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China came to the virtual Davos Forum as the clear winner of 2020. It is the only major economy that has grown. The pandemic, except for small outbreaks, has it under control for now. It has signed the largest trade agreement in the world with 15 Asian countries and an unprecedented investment pact with the European Union. Beijing grows, gains ground, and boasts about it.

“In China we have succeeded in eradicating extreme poverty and are on the road to a modern socialist country. Now we will play a more active role in promoting a global economic globalization that is more open, inclusive, balanced and win-win. “, said the president of China, Xi Jinping, in the opening speech.

No one doubted that Xi would be the star – telematics – of the Davos 2021 Agenda. The Chinese president has said that his country will continue with his “aperturista policy“But, above all, a word has been the protagonist in his speech: multilateralism.” Multilateralism is the basic architecture that will give us the efficiency for all our coordinated actions. Selective multilateralism should not be the option, “Xi has repeated a couple of times from his office in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

It is the first time in 50 years that this meeting has been held through screens. A summit that had never started in a context with so many uncertainties, with the global economy hit by a devastating pandemic. “We must build a world economy through multilateral trade agreements and remove barriers to trade, investment and technological exchanges. We must strengthen the G-20 as a forum that can coordinate global economic governance and preserve stability. of supply chains, “he pointed out.

Xi’s words come a few days after Joe Biden took office as president of the United States and China announced that its GDP grew by 2.3% in 2020, being the only G-20 country that ended the year in positive. “We must put aside prejudice, arrogance and hatred. Some countries have to stop imposing their social and cultural systems,” Xi said.

“History moves on and the world will never be what it was in the past. We must establish macroeconomic cooperation to promote balanced and joint growth of the world economy. We are experiencing the worst recession since the end of World War II. For the first time in history, economies in all regions have been hit hard at the same time, global supply chains shut down, and investment and trade blocked. The global recovery is in jeopardy and the future is uncertain. We must give a joint response and support the macroeconomy to get out of this tunnel as soon as possible “.

For the first time, the president of the second world economy has spoken of the new Cold War between China and the United States, although without mentioning the main actors. “A new Cold War, intimidating others, causing a supply problem and causing isolation, will only bring the world into confrontation.”

Four years ago, Xi Jinping entered the Davos Forum through the front door. It was the first time that a general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had spoken at the annual meeting of the world economic elite. He did it days before Donald Trump assumed the presidency of the United States. Then, Xi surprised by defending multilateralism and economic globalization, as well as warning of the dangers of a trade war that would begin a year later with Trump’s tariffs on Chinese products.

“Those who push for protectionism are locking themselves in a dark house. They have escaped the rain and clouds outside, but they have also lost light and air. A trade war will only cause suffering on both sides “warned the Chinese president.

Bilateral relations between the two largest economies in the world are going through their worst moment in the last four decades. Joe Biden comes to the White House in the midst of a global crisis and with his greatest rival – and his greatest challenge – on the rise. The US president also inherits from his predecessor a new Cold War in all kinds of settings: from the diplomatic to the battle for dominance over cyberspace. In the trade war, Beijing and Washington sealed a partial truce a year ago, signing the so-called “Phase 1” of an agreement to reduce tariffs.

The United States pledged to cut additional tariffs on $ 120 billion worth of Chinese products. In return, China said it would buy 200 billion worth of manufacturing goods, energy and services for two years, and agricultural products for 50 billion. “The trade war is not over yet, this is only the first round of a game”, that was the message that the Foreign Ministry of the Asian country launched then.

It remains to be seen what the first trade moves of the new Biden administration are, but the legacy it receives is a confrontation in which, for now, China is winning. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, China surpassed the US in 2020 as the world’s leading destination for foreign direct investment. According to figures from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development published this Sunday, investments by foreign companies in the US fell 49% last year. The pandemic is the excuse. Less so for China, which has seen direct investment from foreign companies rise 4%.

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