Chinese premier to attend annual WEF meeting, expected to state China’s economic growth prospects, major policy guidelines
Published: Jan 11, 2024 11:30 PM
An aerial view of Dalian Port, Northeast China's Liaoning Province. Photos: VCG

An aerial view of Dalian Port, Northeast China's Liaoning Province. Photos: VCG

Chinese Premier Li Qiang will attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2024 and pay an official visit to Switzerland and Ireland from Sunday to January 17, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Thursday.

Analysts anticipated that topics such as global economic growth, global security, climate change and the development of artificial intelligence could be discussed at the WEF annual meeting in Davos under the theme "Rebuilding Trust." 

They stressed that the meeting will be held at a time when the world is facing a complicated geopolitical situation, a challenging climate for global economy and trade, and rapidly developing technologies. Global elites will gather to rebuild trust and find solutions amid multifaceted global challenges.

China looks forward to working with all parties participating in the WEF meeting to strengthen exchanges and communication, enhance mutual understanding and trust, and will make its contribution to promoting the world's economic recovery, improving global economic governance, and jointly addressing challenges, Mao Ning, spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, said on Thursday during a regular press conference.

According to the official website of the WEF, the 2024 annual meeting will welcome more than 100 governments, all major international organizations, 1,000 WEF partners, as well as civil society leaders, experts, youth representatives, social entrepreneurs and news outlets.

Analysts also pointed out that in the face of a divided world, China will remain an important driving force for the global economic recovery, while playing the role of a stabilizer in global issues.

Widely expected at the upcoming WEF, Premier Li is expected to state China's economic growth prospects and major policy guidelines in 2024, while calling for increased international cooperation and firm opposition to unilateralism and protectionism, Cao Heping, an economist at Peking University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

"We believe Premier Li will further emphasize the fact that China is open for business and will continue along the path of market reforms and liberalization," Rani Jarkas, chairman of Cedrus Group, who will attend the WEF 2024 meeting, told the Global Times in a written interview. Cedrus is a global financial group.

"We see China responding tactically to trade war dynamics, with precision strikes, but we don't see China moving away from its fundamental strategy of opening up its economy to foreign partners," Jarkas said.

In a volatile international environment, China will continue to play the important role of stabilizer and a major booster for the global economic recovery this year, Cao said.

"The Chinese economy is experiencing a comprehensive, full-blown recovery across many sectors, especially consumption and the new-energy vehicle sector. The economy is expected to perform better than many international institutions' forecasts for 2024, and may reach 5.3 percent growth," Cao said, noting that China's contribution to the world economic growth will remain above 30 percent this year.

Jarkas also noted that China will use targeted stimulus that will benefit the local economy and increase confidence, to act as fundamental support for growth. With solid import growth, China has started to act again as the locomotive for the global economy.

The IMF in November projected 4.6 percent GDP growth for China in 2024, while saying that China remained the biggest engine of global economic growth in 2023. 

Over the past decade and a half, China has been the main driver of the world's economic growth, accounting for 35 percent of global nominal GDP growth, according to a report by the IMF.

"The global geopolitical environment is very unstable and this will be the major drag on global economic growth, in our view. In 2024, we don't expect monetary loosening in the West unless Western economies slow down significantly, as inflation is still elevated and can accelerate again with some unforeseen global events," said Jarkas.

Cao said that Premier Li may also reiterate the country's stance on geopolitical issues.

According to the Global Risks Report 2024 released by the WEF on Wednesday, 54 percent of the nearly 1,500 global experts surveyed anticipated a significant degree of instability and a moderate risk of global catastrophes in 2024. Their insight presented a predominantly negative outlook for the world over the next two years, which is also expected to worsen over the next decade.

Analysts noted that China's initiatives on global sustainable development are critical. The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative is important for boosting the development of other emerging economies.

China is now the world's largest producer of solar and wind energy. Developing renewable energy is an efficient solution to climate change and will create more jobs, analysts said.