Chinese president to address Davos in first remarks in Biden era

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(Bloomberg) – Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to deliver his first speech since Joe Biden entered the White House, remarks that could set the tone for relations between the world‘s largest economies over the next four years.

Xi will speak later Monday at the Davos Agenda event, which he last addressed in 2017, days before Donald Trump took office. At the time, Xi warned that a trade war would hurt both sides while stressing China’s openness and condemning protectionism. Chinese state media recently promoted the speech, making Xi a visionary.

Xi’s previous speech “shed light on the turbulent global economic journey” and “transcends time and space,” said Qiushi Journal, a bimonthly magazine published by the Communist Party of China Central Committee, last month.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were also expected to be among the speakers at the online event organized by the World Economic Forum from Monday to Friday. The in-person meeting, which is usually held in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, has been postponed due to the pandemic and is now due to take place in May in Singapore.

The landscape is very different for Xi from four years ago. The Trump administration has since decided to impose tariffs on Chinese exports, sanction those responsible for measures to restrict freedoms in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, and deny vital technology to some of China’s largest companies. . Xi has since emphasized a policy of “dual circulation” that prioritizes self-sufficiency.

Biden’s team said they would continue to maintain a hard line on China while seeking cooperation in areas such as climate change. In its first week, the United States issued statements criticizing China for sanctioning Trump officials and for a show of military force against Taiwan. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has called for bilateral relations to be “rebuilt and repaired” while asserting the right to defend its interests.

Biden did not give many details on how he would deal with the more thorny issues between countries, including export brakes from companies like Huawei Technologies Co., data security regarding apps like TikTok. by Bytedance Ltd. and tariffs on nearly $ 500 billion in products. . But he signaled a shift from confrontation to competition, with members of his administration calling for more investment in the United States to “outperform” China.

Xi speaks from a position of strength: China was the only major economy to show growth amid the pandemic last year. Economists are forecasting an 8.3% expansion this year, compared to 4.1% in the U.S. Xi recently pledged to be carbon neutral by 2060, although Beijing has revealed little details of how he plans to achieve the goal.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

© Bloomberg. Xi Jinping, Chinese President, delivers a speech after arriving at Macau International Airport in Macau, China on Wednesday, December 18, 2019. President Xi is expected to enjoy a visit marking 20 years of Chinese rule over Macau this week to send a message to the protest-stricken financial center some 50 kilometers (30 miles) east: work with us and get rich.

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