Senior politicians from Canada and China provided a stark contrast on the second day of the Davos summit, one making a plea for global cooperation and the other mapping out an ambitious agenda of reform in its domestic economic policy.
Warning against "excessive" financial regulation, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered a more measured speech than French President Nicolas Sarkozy the day before. Still, he echoed Sarkozy's sentiment of global cooperation, telling a crowd that, unless leaders of G20 nations set aside their differences, the recovery is at risk of failing. "When the G20 resumes in Toronto, the discussion should be ... less about narrow self-interest in sovereignty's name, than an expanded view of mutual interest," Harper said. He also praised the results of similar discussions in the past, but added that "it is acting on the agreement that matters."In contrast to Harper, Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang -- who is expected to become the next Chinese premier -- focused on his own country. Domestic demand is key to China's growth and the country is committed to more free market reform, he said. While the country would embrace change domestically, he seemed to indicate that China would not revalue its currency or meet Western demands to reduce its trade surplus. "We will maintain continuity and stability of our macro-economic policies," he said.
Speaking at a meeting of oil leaders, BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward said that the oil industry faces a "supply challenge" to meet growing demand led by the BRIC -- Brazil, Russia, India, China -- emerging markets. Iraq could be a major oil provider in the future, Hayward said, while new methods to extract gas from shale rock are a "game changer." Meanwhile, the head of the Saudi state oil firm Saudi Aramco argued that there is no need to be concerned about "peak oil" theory -- that global oil supply is at or near its peak.
In other news:
-- India and China are finally being seen as equals.
-- The heads of three struggling European -- Greece, Latvia and Spain -- have all reaffirmed their commitment to the euro.
-- Fortune magazine has an interview with Klaus Schwab, who founded the World Economic Forum 40 years ago.