GENEVA — Chinese President Xi Jinping’s new Davos speech was pivotal to boosting multilateral cooperation, leaders of international organizations, business executives and economists have said, stressing China’s role as a growth engine in supporting global economic recovery.
Addressing the World Economic Forum (WEF) Virtual Event of the Davos Agenda on Monday, Xi called on the world to abandon ideological prejudice and jointly follow a path of peaceful coexistence, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.
“Difference in itself is no cause for alarm. What does ring the alarm is arrogance, prejudice and hatred,” Xi said.
No global problem can be solved by any one country alone, and there must be global action, global response and global cooperation, Xi stressed.
“The speech of President Xi Jinping was historic. Four years after he made a famous speech in Davos, in 2017, where he emphasized the need for the world to embrace multilateralism, he came back to this proposal and notion of multilateralism at a very crucial time in the history of humankind,” said WEF Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab.
“After four years of confrontation, we have now the opportunity to reset the pace of global cooperation and to enter into an age of cooperation,” Schwab said in a video message sent to Xinhua.
International Labor Organization Director-General Guy Ryder said he is pleased that the emphasis of Xi’s speech was on international cooperation.
“We need much more international cooperation so that everybody can apply the necessary policies. Multilateralism, international cooperation in vaccine policy but also in employment and financial policy needs to be on top of the policy agenda as we start this new year,” he told Xinhua in an interview.
Adriano Lucatelli, co-founder and managing director of Zurich-based Descartes Finance, said he expects China to continue to push for multilateralism to find global solutions for a post-COVID world.
“I wish China to take a leading role in fostering global cooperation as President Xi already explained at his 2017 speech at the WEF in Davos,” Lucatelli said.
In his speech, Xi also called for jointly promoting strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth of the world economy. Xi’s remarks have demonstrated “China’s firm determination to continue facilitating opening up and economic globalization,” Qualcomm China Chairman Frank Meng told Xinhua in a written interview.
Rudolf Minsch, chief economist at Swiss national business federation Economiesuisse, said while the COVID-19 crisis has led to more protectionism in many countries, “China has an important role in convincing other countries to abandon trade barriers, setting a good example.”
“The me-first-strategy is dangerous for the future of global trade and would hurt all countries in the long run,” he stressed.
“China will act as a growth locomotive for the world economy,” Minsch said, adding that the Chinese economy “will support the recovery in other markets” in 2021.
China’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 2.3 percent year on year in 2020, data from the country’s National Bureau of Statistics showed last week, making it likely the only major economy to grow last year.
Francois Savary, chief investment officer at the Geneva-based investment management and consulting company Prime Partners, said that China’s contribution to the global recovery will be significant, especially in the first half of this year.
“The prospects are good and 2021 should be marked by strong growth in China. However, there should be a normalization in the growth rate overtime, converging towards 5.5 percent in a two to three year framework,” he said.
“Economically, China is going from strength to strength. With its growing influence comes greater international responsibility, an important step in this direction could be helping vaccination efforts in developing countries to help bolster their social and economic recoveries,” said Patrick Odier, chairman of the board of directors at Bank Lombard Odier.
Xi said on Monday in a telephone conversation with Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit that China will continue supporting developing countries in their fights against COVID-19 and contribute to making vaccines public goods that are accessible and affordable to all. China has joined the COVAX initiative led by the World Health Organization aimed at ensuring equitable global access to vaccines.
“The pandemic is far from over,” Xi said in his latest speech to Davos, adding that “there is no doubt that humanity will prevail over the virus and emerge even stronger from this disaster.”
“China will continue to share its experience with other countries, do its best to assist countries and regions that are less prepared for the pandemic, and work for greater accessibility and affordability of COVID vaccines in developing countries,” Xi said.