the great hall of The palais des congrès was packed to capacity, a sign of the expectations of business leaders, government ministers, policy makers of all stripes in attendance this week at this ski resort in switzerland for the world economic forum.
They were not disappointed. Mr. Xi has served as a speech of nearly an hour, chiseled parables (“the global economy is a large ocean“, “the globalization is a double-edged sword“) and literary references, chinese but also western, when he rendered homage to Charles Dickens or the Gettysburg address of Abraham Lincoln.
above all, he held a speech reassuring and supportive to the globalization.
“We must remain committed to the development of free trade (…) and say no to protectionism‘, and ‘ any attempt to stop the exchange of capital, technology, and products (…) is impossible, and that is the reverse of the story,” he said, planting a banderille in the back of Donald Trump, without the name.
The future u.s. president, who will take office Friday, has built its electoral success on the denunciation of the effects of globalization on american jobs and threatens to erect customs barriers.
“no one will emerge the winner in a trade war“, has yet again warned Mr Xi.
“He has brilliantly seized this opportunity to try to take the +leadership+ global“, ignited John Neill, who heads the british group logistics Unipart, believing that he might be attended to as a historic turning point. Other participants were a little more measured.
Because for nearly 50 years, Davos brings together business leaders, government leaders, politicians, artists, a whole elite generally acquired free-trade in all its forms.
They debate the orientations of the world in the large congress centre, or meet quietly to discuss business in a meeting room, or recline at the bar, in a large hotel, or even during these famous feasts that involved the reputation of Davos.
This edition, however, has a special flavor given the growing hostility of a significant portion of western populations towards globalization, in particular of a middle class in the process of decommissioning. Of voters who have voted for Donald Trump, for the Brexit (the First british minister Theresa May is to speak Thursday) and will perhaps shake up the political game in France, Germany, etc
- “Can we have an influence ‘ Not” –
The business leaders interviewed by the AFP does, however, really moved the speech on Tuesday by Theresa May in London, which has clearly taken the direction of “Brexit” hard.
“Can we have an influence ‘ Not. We’re going to have to live with it,” responded Heinz Haller, executive vice-president of Dow Chemicals.
Now that the positions are clear, it is necessary that the diplomats “work very hard over a very short period of time, to find a solution good for Europe and the United Kingdom,” according to Pol Polman, boss of Unilever.
On the climate file, and when the great vagueness surrounding the position of president-elect u.s., the participants at a luncheon devoted to the corporate action on the climate (leaders of major corporations, former diplomats, etc), are intended to be reassuring, considering that the dynamics of the Paris agreement was triggered and that nothing could stop it.
The presidency, Trump will make, at most “the road a bit chaotic“, wanted to believe one of the speakers at this lunch organised under the auspices of the Chatham House rule, which prohibits to identify the authors of such statements.
This forum, Davos is also one of the last lights of the Obama administration on the international scene. Secretary of State John Kerry, no stranger to the area, Tuesday, his last address outside the United States, warning of the dangers of populism which could give the next administration Trump and encouraging Europe: “theMy message to my friends in Europe is the following : Europe needs to believe in itself“.
on Wednesday, it will be the american vice-president Joe Biden, who will make his last speech before the forum.