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Chinese president's keynote speech to Davos wins worldwide applause

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-01-18 16:33

BEIJING - Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday delivered a keynote speech at the 2017 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, making a strong case for advancing globalization and rejecting protectionism.

Officials, scholars and economists worldwide spoke highly of the speech, saying it not only showed China's determination to continue its development path, but also offered solutions to the world's economic problems.

Vincent A. Forlenza, chairman of the Board, CEO and President of BD, a global medical technology company, called Xi's speech "positive, realistic and open."

Echoing Forlenza's comment, Gavin E. Wilson, CEO of IFC Asset Management Company LLC, also found the speech with its prominent focus on globalization very positive.

"What impressed me most were his expressions on globalization and free trade. Globalization and free trade have brought enormous progress in health, wealth, education, etc." Wilson said, adding it was refreshing to hear the leader of the world's second largest economy reinforce that message.

Given the current state of slowing global economic growth, the Chinese president presented a clear case for an urgent and courageous response from global leaders, according to Honson To, chairman of KPMG China.

"He persuaded the world to persist with free trade rather than reverting to protectionism for the long term benefit of all nations," To said.

"He then described the long and arduous journey that China had taken in 38 years of reform and opening-up and China's readiness to take leadership in driving global growth for the benefit of not just China but all peoples of the world," he said, adding that he was deeply moved by the strong sense of China's purpose as a responsible leader on the world stage.

President Xi's insights and emphasis on the importance of continued globalization, growth and equity also impressed Hans-Paul Buerkner, Chairman of Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

"He put overcoming poverty and climate change into the context of globalization, growth and equity, to really keep on bringing progress not just to China, but to the world. That's really something that I feel personally very strongly about," Buerkner said, adding that he liked Xi's message about globalization being win-win for everyone.

"We need to push growth. There are still lots of opportunities and we can deal with equity issues best when, as Xi mentioned, the cake grows," Buerkner added.

Khalid Al Rumaihi, chief executive of Bahrain Economic Development Board, said that President Xi's insistence on deepening globalization, strengthening economic growth and his warning against isolationism is extremely comforting.

"I think China as such a vital part of world economy now has that kind of strong message sent by President Xi, which is hugely positive, particularly when the world is fearing the routes towards isolationism today," Rumaihi added.

Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International, said that given the current volatility of global politics, President Xi's address not only helped calm nerves but boosted global confidence.

"Xi's reference to climate change highlights China's evolving calculus toward taking action on the issue. Now more than ever, the world needs to follow committed powers like China to safeguard and enhance the hard-fought international climate regime," Morgan said.

Shu Yinbiao, chairman of State Grid Corporation of China, said that at a time when the economic outlook is uncertain and recovery weak, Xi's speech not offered "China's plan," but expressed confidence in the long-term sustainable growth of the country's economy as well.

"This sent a strong signal to the international community that China's economy is able to maintain long-term, stable and sustainable development," Shu said.

As for the Belt and Road Initiative Xi expounded in his speech, Shu said that this initiative not only helps countries step into the fast lane of development, but also makes important contributions to the global economy.

"China has worked really hard to be one good citizen of the world," Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at the consulting firm IHS Inc., said.

"It added a lot to growth globally. Xi has mentioned the great contribution of China in the last 10 years. It's been tremendous. China has been a locomotive of growth," Behravesh added.

Ding Yuan, vice president of China Europe International Business School, said that as the Davos Forum was held amid a rising tide of de-globalization and trade protectionism, China's attitude toward globalization and free trade issues has attracted the attention of the world.

"With China's economy growing and the improvement of its international status, China is playing a more and more important role on the world stage," Ding said, expecting that China will release clearer and more open signals on reducing trade barriers and increasing trade liberalization and globalization.

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