In his first speech since U.S. President Joe Biden took office, China President Xi Jinping gave a 25-minute address at the virtual World Economic Forum (WEF), his first appearance there since 2017, Reuters reported Monday (Jan. 25).
Xi asked for a global effort to fortify the coordination of macroeconomic policy and bolster the G20’s role in economic governance. He referred to the world’s economic rebound from the pandemic as “rather shaky” and pointed to the possibility of public health emergencies in the future, according to Reuters.
Similar to his Davos 2017 speech, Xi championed an alliance among countries as the way out of current challenges, with leaders collaborating to jumpstart the global economy with an eye on the future, Reuters reported.
“We should build an open world economy … discard discriminatory and exclusionary standards, rules and systems, and take down barriers to trade, investment and technological exchanges,” he said, per Reuters.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told Reuters in a separate report that Xi’s comments don’t change anything as far as how the U.S. views China, however the U.S. is looking to enhance its overall strategy.
“What we’ve seen over the last few years is that China’s growing more authoritarian at home and more assertive abroad and Beijing is now challenging our security, prosperity and values in significant ways that require a new U.S. approach,” Psaki said, per Reuters.
Formed in 1999, the G20 — the Group of 20 — is an informal gathering of world economies to discuss and coordinate global policy on trade, health, climate and other issues. Xi said it should be strengthened as the “main forum for global economic governance,” and the world should “engage in closer macroeconomic policy coordination,” according to Reuters
The gross domestic product (GDP) in China expanded just 2.3 percent last year — the lowest growth over 40 years, according to recent data, per Reuters. But China was also the only major economy to sidestep a 2020 contraction amid the global pandemic.
In November, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) called on G20 member states to support stimulus efforts in order to help offset the pandemic’s negative effects. The IMF credited swift action by the G20 with helping to avert what could have been a “worse economic crisis in the wake of COVID-19.”