Tuesday, 17 January 2017

China is Open for Business

Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the World Economic Forum in Davos
Xi Jinping is the first Chinese President to address the World Economic Forum, and today he used the platform to take the high road, making the case for globalization in a time when the UK will implement Brexit and President-Elect Donald Trump advocates isolationism.

In his speech, Xi promised to improve market access for foreign companies, and said China has no intention of devaluing the yuan or launching a currency war.

He said protectionism had to be opposed and the finger-pointing stopped.

"Those who push for protectionism are shutting themselves inside a dark house. They have escaped the rain and clouds outside, but also missed the light and air," he said. "A trade war will only lead to suffering on both sides."

Xi says China is open to foreign companies... really?
Since his predecessor Hu Jintao's leadership, China has been protectionist too, making it harder and harder for foreign companies to do business in the Middle Kingdom. And with the further media suppression on foreign journalists and outlets, people on the outside find it harder to get the information they need to objectively assess the situation.

So if Xi really does keep his word, it will be interesting to see China open its doors for more business -- but are companies willing to pay higher wages for labour? And will this still be cheap manufacturing, or something higher up the manufacturing chain?

In addition, Xi said there was no point in blaming globalization to the Syrian refugee crisis or the 2008 financial crisis. He said there was "no justification for wiping out economic globalization all together".

How does the Syrian refugee crisis have anything to do with globalization, when it's a civil war in the country?

What kind of president will Donald Trump be?
Nevertheless, it seems Xi is keen to stimulate his country's economy -- apparently it grew just over 6 percent in 2016 -- and perhaps get rid of its overproduction.

As the inauguration of Trump drawer closer, many are trying to come to terms with the new normal in Washington. Will he continue to see it as one big reality show in the White House, or will he really take the job seriously and help those who voted him into office?

Xi is probably looking on horrified at having to deal with a man who makes knee-jerk pronouncements that may or may not have substance. However, he is probably impressed by how Trump handles press conferences by shutting reporters down...

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