The Davos president
The last time global movers and shakers hobnobbed at the World Economic Forum in Davos, they were still in disbelief about Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election in November 2016. His rejection of the globalization they represented set the stage for Chinese President Xi Jinping to position China as a champion of free trade in Davos last year.
Now Trump has unexpectedly announced that he will attend the Forum later this month—the first US president in office to do so since Bill Clinton in 2000.
In the past year, Trump has walked out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and played hardball on reworking the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement to better suit the US. He will continue to push the America First agenda in Davos, says the White House. Xi’s China, with its numerous barriers to investment and increased internet controls, remains as dubious a free trade champion as it was at the start of 2017. The messages the world’s economic heavyweights deliver this time will be closely followed.