Australian business leaders have backed calls from Chinese President Xi Jinping for world leaders to support and embrace free trade and globalization in the face of growing protectionism.[Special coverage]
Xi told the World Economic Conference in Davos, Switzerland, overnight that it was important that world economies do not get bogged down in a trade war, explaining that "no one will emerge a winner" if protectionism is embraced.
On Thursday, a raft of Australian business leaders backed Xi's stance including Business Council Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott, who said, as a nation, Australia was "too small an economy to go down the protectionist path and attempt to insulate ourselves from global forces".
"President Xi is right," Westacott told News Corp. "There's no viable alternative to open global markets if we're serious about sustainably raising living standards across the globe."
The ANZ's Martin Whetton, an interest rate strategist, said it wasn't "in anyone's interest" to shun globalization in favor of protectionism, while former Australian ambassador to China Geoff Raby said protectionism, especially towards China, would only be bad news for the Australian economy.
"Anything that harms China's growth is harmful for Australia as a major supplier of materials to China," Raby told News Corp on Thursday.
CEO of the Australia China Business Council, Helen Sawczak also agreed with Xi, explaining that China's rise as a global power continues to be a brilliant advertisement for the benefits of globalization.
"We welcome President Xi's championing of globalization," Sawczak said in comments published on Thursday.