Three years after Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech here at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), his energetic championship of globalization and solemn promise of further opening-up are still reverberating through the Swiss ski resort of Davos.
"I clearly felt that the political and business elites of other countries who I've talked with retain a deep impression of President Xi Jinping's speech," said Ning Tian, chairman and CEO of Hangzhou-based Panshi Information Technology.
"His view is widely supported by politicians and businessmen who have frequently quoted the Chinese president in many occasions," Ning said.
Cargo ships are seen at a wharf of Wenfeng port in the China (Hebei) Pilot Free Trade Zone Caofeidian area in north China's Hebei Province.(Xinhua/Yang Shiyao)
As protectionism and unilateralism are rising against the trend, participants of this year's WEF not only lauded Xi's remarks in 2017, but also echoed China's call for -- in the words of Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng on Tuesday -- "building an inclusive and open world economy together."
"PASSIONATE DEFENSE OF GLOBALIZATION"
While presenting Han to the WEF's 50th annual meeting to make a special address, Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, revisited the tremendous efforts and achievements made by the People's Republic of China since its founding 70 years ago and particularly through decades of reform and opening-up.
When China first joined the WEF, it represented only 1.8 percent of the global economy; last year, it accounted for over 16 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), "not to forget how many people were lifted out of poverty during this process," Schwab said.
"But what has been more impressive has been China's growing role in international affairs, playing a responsive and responsible role," Schwab said.
"Many of the participants here can still remember President Xi's historic remarks in this room in 2017, and his passionate defense of globalization," he said.
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), speaks at the WEF annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 21, 2020.(Xinhua/Guo Chen)
Economic globalization resulted from growing social productivity, and is a natural outcome of scientific and technological progress, not something created by any individuals or any countries, Xi said then, adding that economic globalization has powered global growth and facilitated movement of goods and capital, advances in science, technology and civilization, and interactions among peoples.
Echoing Xi's remarks three years ago, Han on Tuesday called on the international community to build an inclusive and open world economy and uphold multilateralism in support of economic globalization, which is "a historical trend, an essential condition for productivity growth, and a natural result of the advance in science and technology," as well as "a strong driving force behind economic growth across the globe."
In response, Schwab thanked Han for the "reassurance related to continuing necessary opening-up processes, certainly heard with pleasure by all the investors here in the room."
"The prerequisite for economic growth, also strongly underlined by President Xi in Davos in 2017, is that we have to continue to trade with each other," said Borge Brende, president of the WEF, adding that "beggar thy neighbor" does not work.
Brende noted "what works is you should prosper thy neighbor, and this is what we have done through globalization, through trading with each other."
CONTRIBUTOR TO GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY
Sustainable development is the key theme of this year's WEF, with efforts to combat climate change -- one of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) -- at the heart.
Echoing Xi's call to "meet the challenges of climate change," Han said that China is a contributor to sustainable global development.
China has actively implemented the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and played a leading role in international cooperation on climate change, which has made global development more inclusive and sustainable, he said.
Han's speech "was both expected and reassuring. It is indeed reassuring that the country strongly believes in multilateralism, in international cooperation and in respecting the environment," said Philippe Monnier, an international business executive and former executive director of Greater Geneva Berne Area's Economic Development Agency.
These values, which have been emphasized by Xi in 2017, are very similar with the values embodied in the UN charter and in the WEF manifesto, Monnier added.
"China is the country with the highest level of investment in renewable energy in absolute terms, and it has taken dramatic actions to reduce carbon emissions," said Guy Ryder, director-general of the International Labour Organization.
"However, more needs to be done collectively if we are to meet this target, which is crucial for the future of our children," Ryder said.
STEADY HAND AT PROMOTING INCLUSIVENESS
As the largest developing country on earth, China has charted its course for inclusive development in line with the SDGs, to deliver benefits to all its people, particularly those struggling to make a better living.
Honson To, chairman of KPMG China and Asia Pacific, said China's proposal and road map of development remained unchanged since Xi's speech in 2017.
The course of China's development has been very clear since its reform and opening-up over 40 years ago, without hesitating or turning back, To said.
Han, in his Tuesday speech, pledged that China will "work with people of all countries to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity" so as to make greater contribution to building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Combo photo shows the finished roads (up, Nov. 11, 2019) and students climbing down a wooden ladder to school (Sept. 3, 2012) in Nongyong Village of Dahua Yao Autonomous County, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.(Xinhua/Huang Xiaobang)
The global community should "keep to the goal of safeguarding peace, promoting development, upholding equity and justice, and pursuing mutual benefit and win-win outcomes," he said, calling for joint efforts to tackle global challenges such as poverty reduction.
According to official data, China has lifted more than 800 million people out of poverty over the past several decades, representing over 70 percent of global poverty reduction.
The SDGs "are very ambitious. The overall aim then is to eradicate all extreme poverty by 2030," on which China has an impressive record, Brende said.
"We have never seen that number of people lifted out of extreme poverty ever before in the history of mankind," so this is "a great achievement of China," he said.
"We have to have economic growth but that growth has to be more inclusive, it has to create more jobs and it also has to be more sustainable because we only have one planet," he said, adding "we just have to take better care of the planet we have."
"It will be very interesting to follow China moving forward, how it will continue to prosper its population but balancing it with nature and inclusiveness," he said.