Last week, some of the world’s political leaders traveled to Davos, Switzerland to discuss economic policy for their countries. Speakers like Chinese President Xi Jinping and British PM Theresa May were some of the prominent names at the conference. Each year the World Economic Forum comes to Davos to give reports on the economic situations surrounding countries, opinions on global economic trends, and future prospects of the economy. This year’s forum was centered on the changing trend across many countries toward protectionism with regard to trade and the role of the European Union in economic matters with the impending Brexit.
Chinese President Xi Jinping headlined an Asian delegation to Davos that was the largest on record for the World Economic Forum. President Xi made a surprising announcement at the forum by coming out in total favor of globalization. President Xi is a member of the Chinese Communist Party and with that said, the relation between globalization and communist theory is not apparent. Xi stated that “Many of the problems troubling the world are not caused by economic globalization.” Many saw this as an attack on rhetoric that politicians, like US President-Elect Donald Trump, have used to stand hard against global trade and favor protectionism.
In addition to President Xi, Managing-Director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, also came out in favor of maintaining a globalized world and that “To turn our back on globalization…is exactly the wrong approach.”
As for the European Union and the UK, British PM May stressed that her country does not want to shut itself out from the rest of the world. She made her point clear that the UK wants to be active on the world stage economically whilst pulling itself out of the EU in the next couple of years. Insiders were not as optimistic or sold by the British PM’s comments and had their doubts about the economic future for the nation.
What will come out of this conference with regards to new policy is uncertain. However, it could be interesting to see if the new populist, protectionist wave that has been hitting countries for the past year is countered with some resistance built out of last week in Davos.