23:29 GMT +321 October 2019
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    Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland January 17, 2017.

    Trading Places: China to 'Champion Free Trade, US to Back Protectionism'

    © REUTERS / Ruben Sprich
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    Chinese leadership will advocate free trade, while US President-elect Donald Trump and his team appear committed to carrying out an economic policy based on protectionism, Mexican economist Oscar Ugarteche, a researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, told Sputnik.

    "China has become the new advocate of free trade and global economy. For its part, the United States will become the champion of protectionism," the analyst said, citing Trump's threat to impose a 35 percent tax on German-made vehicles imported into the US as a case in point.

    Donald Trump has repeatedly blamed free trade agreements for damaging the US economy. The US president-elect has announced that he will withdraw from the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Barack Obama's signature deal, and was open to an idea of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

    On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Trump and any other country intent on pursuing protectionism against such policies in a speech at the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland. He compared such efforts to attempts to "divert a river into lakes and creeks" and said that it was not possible.

    "Globalism certainly creates some problems that we all need to solve together," Xi said. "But what should really scare us is any [leader] not willing to live up to the challenge."

    Oscar Ugarteche further noted that it was "quite possible that after the forum we will see an alliance between China and the European Union on the one hand, and the United States and Russia on the other." He also suggested that the future would be in the hands of the former, with key decision-making centers located in Beijing and Brussels.

    "In this regard South American nations must understand that they will face a more protectionist America," the economist said, adding that this was bad news for those leaders who want to foster ties with Washington.

    Oscar Ugarteche explained that in practical terms this means that the US will import less from and invest less into South America.

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    protectionism, global economy, free trade, trade, economy, World Economic Forum in Davos, Donald Trump, United States, China
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