China goes big in Davos – and here’s why

Today will see a through the looking glass moment at Davos.

The leader of the world’s largest Communist Party will take to the stage at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss ski resort arguing for globalisation and the wonders of free trade. At the same time as the US – the home of capitalism – has a new president saying that the present free trade rules need to be ripped up. The Dragon is here to embrace Switzerland’s annual rich fest.

And it’s keen to be seen as a member of the club.

President-elect Donald Trump wants to take a baseball bat to the club house and build a new one.

‘Route to prosperity’

President Xi Jinping is the first Chinese president to visit the WEF.

His message is likely to be uncompromising.

After Chinese officials warned against “nativism” last week – a direct reference to Mr Trump – Mr Xi is expected to say that global free trade has brought prosperity and that moves against it will only harm economic growth. Yes, he may nod to the need for globalisation to be seen to be working for all. But he will be clear that more trade is the route to prosperity, for Asia and Western economies.

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