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Economy - Davos 2017: Trump, China and Brexit set to dominate
17 January 2017

China, Donald Trump and Brexit are set to dominate this year's World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos.
Xi Jinping will be the first Chinese president to attend the annual meeting of world and business leaders in the Swiss Alps in its 47-year history.

Mr Xi will speak in defence of free trade in his speech at the conference's opening ceremony on Tuesday.

Theresa May, the UK prime minister, is expected to meet with the Chinese leader in Davos on Tuesday.

She will travel to the Swiss ski resort after delivering a speech giving more detail about her Brexit plans in London earlier that day.

And on Friday, Philip Hammond, the UK chancellor, will further outline his vision of the UK's economic relationship with the European Union after Brexit.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump, who has spoken out against international trade deals, takes office on Friday.


Davos: Are the global elite in retreat?

Although the president-elect will not go to Davos, one of his top advisers - hedge fund boss Anthony Scaramucci - will speak about the new US leader's plans on Tuesday.

Mr Trump, whose "America first" pledge helped him win the White House, has also threatened to hike tariffs on goods imported from China.

Mr Xi is taking China's biggest delegation to the elite gathering in Davos, and his appearance is seen as an attempt to present the country as a world leader.

His entourage includes some of China's most successful business people, such as Jack Ma, the founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, and property magnate Wang Jianlin, who runs the conglomerate Dalian Wanda.

China's vice foreign minister Li Baodong has said Mr Xi will detail the country's views on how to "steer economic globalisation towards greater inclusiveness".

Despite the apparent hostility between the US and China, Mr Xi has spoken of a smooth communication channel with Mr Trump's team, and reports suggest the Chinese president would be willing to meet members of the US president-elect's team whilst in Davos.

Under Barack Obama, the US and China have butted heads on security issues, but co-operated on climate change

Mr Xi's attendance has been welcomed by WEF founder Klaus Schwab, who said he expects him to "show how China will assume in global affairs a responsive and responsible leadership role".

Responsive and responsible leadership is the theme for this year's gathering, which comes after a year of dramatic events including the UK's Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump.

Mr Schwab has called on attendees to help "overcome the present mood of divisiveness and negativism".

"The world is fundamentally transforming technologically, economically, socially and politically."

"There are no simple, ready-made solutions. What we urgently need are pragmatic and future-oriented actions, even in the form of small steps, to provide positive narratives," he said ahead of the conference.

The World Economic Forum's global risks report, published ahead of the meeting, said "rising income and wealth disparity" and "increasing polarisation of societies" were two of the biggest risks expected to impact the world over the next decade.

The report, which is based on the views of 750 experts, found climate change and the potential for extreme weather events, cyber dependency leaving firms and governments more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and ageing populations were the other biggest risks.
 

Katie Hope – BBC News

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