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Chinese Xi Jinping faults his policy on trade protectionism in Davos

Barely less than three day after the federal Government denied the fact that China did not give severing relations with Taiwan as a condition for the new N40bn loan deal, Chinese President Xi Jinping Tuesday presented himself as a champion of globalisation, lecturing the world elite in Davos on the dangers of protectionism and the futility of trade wars.

Since last week when the new broke that the federal government is on the neck of Taiwan trade office in Abuja to either relocate to Lagos or even close office for easy access to the Chinese N40bn loan after the N20bn loan plan collapsed last year, many Nigerians having business relations with Taiwan had become restless especially auto dealers.

Auto dealers argue that the best and most durable motor parts come from Taiwan or South Korea whereas the worst parts come from China.

Though Taiwan is yet to react to the development in Nigeria, it would be recalled that the Chinese policy of ‘One China’ has been an international diplomatic issue that may make or mar the growth and development of many countries with links to both China and Taiwan.

Yesterday, the leader of the world’s second largest economy became the first Chinese president to address the World Economic Forum, where 3,000 well-heeled delegates from government, business, science and the arts have gathered.

His appearance comes as populist protectionism is on the rise across Europe and in the US, where November’s election of Donald Trump sent shockwaves through the global liberal order.

Already, incoming US President, Donald Trump has started brainstorming on how to wrestle Africa from the growing grip of China or leave Africa finally for China.

But Jinping said there is “no point in blaming economic globalisation for the world’s problems,” he said, saying that the process was not at the root of the Syrian refugee situation or the 2008 financial crisis.

“It’s true that economic globalisation has created new problems, but this is not justification to write off economic globalisation altogether”

Globalisation should be “more inclusive, more sustainable,” he said, adding that currently existing global institutions are “inadequate” and should be more “representative.”

Xi’s speech was highly anticipated by Davos attendees, a global club who has been caught off-guard by the rising sentiment against liberal trade regimes, and is looking for guidance in the face of an incoming Trump administration in Washington.

While acknowledging that globalisation was a “double-edged sword,” Xi argued that the benefits far outweighed the negatives and there could be no turning away from international economic integration.

“The global economy is a big ocean you cannot escape from,” he said, likening goods, services and capital to waters that cannot be channeled back into landlocked streams and lakes.

“Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room. Wind and rain may be kept outside, but so is light and air,” he said.

“No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war,” he added, in an oblique reference to Trump.