EDITORIAL NOTES

Persist with globalisation, resist trade wars: China Daily

Chinese President Xi Jinping offered a vigorous defense of globalisation and free trade in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday. It underscores Beijing's desire to play a greater global role as the United States turns inward.
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening plenary session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan 17, 2017.
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening plenary session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan 17, 2017.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

China made its point. In his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, President Xi Jinping made a straightforward defence of globalisation.

His speech represented China's courage in the face of the looming protectionism threatening to dismantle the global environment that has benefited different nations' cooperation and development, and which has helped millions of people lift themselves out of poverty in the past few decades.

It has become the dernier cri for populist movements in many places to blame globalism for domestic malaises, rather than the mismanagement of it. The politicians trying to manipulate such mass sentiments will only make things worse by spreading the illusion that history can be rolled back and a nation can develop by closing its doors to others.

The threat of a trade war is being used so casually, it only betrays the lack of ability of those who utter it to improve their economy at a time when adroit management is required.

Such an irrational approach was likened by the Chinese president to evading danger by "locking oneself in a dark room", only to deprive oneself of "light and air".

A trade war produces no winners, since all will be losers. It is the opposite of flourishing trade, which if managed well, will produce no losers, only winners.

Xi's message in Davos this year was that China will continue to benefit the world economy and it is seeking a greater role in global governance to sustain the globalisation process when there is growing doubt about the commitment of the United States to issues such as trade and climate change under the incoming administration.

That undertaking reflects the economic power China has accumulated. It has grown, in Xi's words, from a society that not so long ago felt uneasy about foreign competition, when it was pressed to accept the terms from the World Trade Organisation, into a global trader with much stronger ability and confidence.

Every economy has its problems. China is in the middle of a transition featuring many new challenges. But as Xi told his audience, in the next five years China's development will generate many opportunities and countries should not shut the door on them. It would be even more counter-productive to shut one's own economy away from the changing global dynamics.

Instead, as Xi stressed, countries should work together to pursue new models of global growth, cooperation, governance and development that deliver benefits to all of the world.

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