GENEVA — World Trade Organization director general Pascal Lamy on Wednesday called for ministers from 35 to 40 trading powers, including the U.S., to meet in Geneva starting July 21 to try and clinch a long-sought deal in the troubled Doha round of talks.
But trade officials are skeptical over the chances an agreement can be reached because major hurdles stand in the way. These include political uncertainties in the U.S. with the upcoming presidential election and last year's nonrenewal by Congress of President Bush's trade promotion authority, divisions within the European Union and the tough stance taken by emerging nations such as Argentina, India and South Africa.
EU diplomats also said French President Nicolas Sarkozy might rally support to veto any deal that fell short on substantial market openings for industrial goods. Last week, Sarkozy criticized EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson over his handling of the talks.
A spokesman for U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said: "While there has been progress in recent days, in the weeks leading up to the ministerial meeting, there still is a lot of work and still important differences in agriculture, NAMA [non-agricultural market access] and services."
Lamy proposed the meeting during a closed-door session and diplomats in attendance said he thought there was more than a 50 percent chance that a breakthrough blueprint deal could be brokered on how to lower subsidies, tariffs and other barriers in agriculture and industrial goods. The talks have been stalled because industrial powers, such as the U.S. and the EU, and key emerging economies, such as Brazil and India, have not been able to resolve their differences in agriculture, where cotton subsidies have been a key sticking point, and industrial goods, including textiles and apparel.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
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Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews