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Chinese President Xi Jinping warned of a “new cold war” and championed multilateralism at the opening of the World Economic Forum, which this year abandons the snowfall of Davos in favor of a completely virtual.
At the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Chinese President Xi Jinping pleaded on Monday January 25 in favor of increased coordination of macroeconomic policies and a strengthening of the role of economic governance of the G20, citing a “fairly agitated” recovery, after the coronavirus crisis.
Without ever naming the United States, Xi Jinping, whose country is the only large economy to have experienced growth in 2020, has set himself up as a defender of multilateralism, as he had already faced the same forum there is four years, just before Donald Trump came to power.
His newly appointed successor, Democrat Joe Biden, does not attend this annual gathering of the world’s political and economic elite, usually held in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.
Biden administration expected at the turn
“Building clans or starting a new cold war, rejecting, threatening or intimidating others (…), disrupting supply chains or sanctions in order to cause isolation will only push the world into division and even the confrontation, “Xi Jinping warned.
And this while the Biden administration is expected to turn on its policy in the face of the economic and technological rise of China. Donald Trump had opted for open confrontation and verbal attacks – with no tangible results on the huge US trade deficit with China.
While his successor is working to undo the controversial measures of the Trump era one after one, Joe Biden has nevertheless signaled that the United States will remain very attentive to its interests. He will sign an executive order on Monday to encourage the federal government to buy more goods and services from American companies, at the risk of upsetting certain business partners.
A controversial deal
For their part, the Europeans advance their pawns. German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier defended on Monday at a round table the controversial agreement in principle concluded at the end of December between the European Union and China, in order to open the gigantic Chinese market to European companies , and vice versa.
This agreement only “replicates many provisions that the United States already had with China,” he argued. Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess recalled that China, where the manufacturer has several factories, represented a “huge opportunity” for European companies.
Yet the deal is criticized by MEPs and NGOs who believe it should be made conditional on Beijing ratifying international conventions banning forced labor.
Reacting to the speech of the Chinese president, Kenneth Roth, the director of the NGO Human Rights Watch, cast a chill by estimating on Twitter that Xi Jinping “promotes international cooperation on Covid-19 as long as it does not involve that an investigation be carried out into the fact that the human-to-human transmission of the virus was hidden for three weeks, which led to its spread to the whole planet “.
Speaking at the virtual Davos, Chinese President Xi Jinping promotes global collaboration on the Covid-19, so long as it doesn’t involve investigating his three-week cover-up of human-to-human transmission in Wuhan, which enabled the virus to go global. https://t.co/vySqTOotQh pic.twitter.com/TiR9zxk20d
– Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) January 25, 2021
The year of the recovery?
During the 2020 edition of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the appearance in China of a mysterious pneumonia still raised only a vague concern. A year later, the world is still grappling with a pandemic that has already killed more than 2 million people, and caused the loss of 225 million jobs according to the International Labor Organization – this, while the world’s great fortunes n ‘have not left a feather there, denounced the NGO Oxfam.
The optimism that prevailed in November when vaccines became reality is no longer in order, with the imposition of new restrictions, the progression of coronavirus variants and the delays that accumulate in the delivery of the precious vials.
However, the President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde assured that 2021 would be “the year of recovery”. Admittedly, it will undoubtedly be “a little delayed, but it should not derail”.
Among the other subjects discussed during this first day, the taxation of digital giants, a priority displayed by France, which has already implemented a “Gafa tax” on its scale – causing a diplomatic crisis with the United States.
French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire welcomed the more conciliatory tone of the new Biden administration on the global subject of corporate taxation, hoping for an agreement “to be reached by the end of spring 2021 “within the framework of the OECD.