China’s Next Leader Offers a Glimpse of the Future

Li Keqiang, who is widely expected to succeed Wen Jiabao as Premier, delivered a speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The New York Times reports:

…In a half-hour speech at the World Economic Forum here, he carefully avoided any mention of the issue that was foremost on the mind of many in the audience: the undervalued Chinese currency. He offered no clues as to whether or when Beijing might allow the renminbi to appreciate against the dollar.

Mr. Li opened with a clear signal that China, which has weathered the global financial crisis better than most, did not consider it to be over. “The storm has not subsided,” he said.

Against the backdrop of growing calls for protectionism in the United States, Mr. Li appeared eager to emphasize a pledge to remake the Chinese economy in a way that would help address, at least over the longer run, China’s gaping trade surplus with the United States and its lesser trade gap with Europe.

“As we stand at a historic juncture,” Mr. Li said, “we must change the old way of inefficient growth and transform the current development model that is excessively reliant on investment and exports.”

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