DAVOS, Switzerland — Spurred by fears of a global recession, trade ministers from major trading powers, including the U.S., India, Brazil and the European Union, agreed Saturday to a proposal by the global trade chief to meet in late March or early April in Geneva to try and hammer out a breakthrough deal in the stalled Doha talks.
World Trade Organization director general Pascal Lamy and trade ministers from major powers cautioned there were risks for the world economy — including a surge in protectionism, and the talks drifting endlessly for years — if they failed to broker a deal in 2008.
"We decided we will have a WTO ministerial meeting, probably in April," said Doris Leuthard, Swiss economy minister, who hosted a luncheon with ministers from 16 countries and Lamy, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum summit.
Lamy told WEF business leaders and trade ministers that conclusion of the Doha Round, launched in November 2001, "is doable." But he also warned he's not positive that ministers will do it, and stressed a failure in the talks would have adverse implications for world growth and also geopolitical consequences beyond trade.
Senior trade diplomats said new blueprints on how to lower subsidies and tariffs in agriculture and import duties for industrial goods are to be circulated to WTO members by the respective chairman of the talks in the first half of February.
Differences between rich and developing countries over how to proceed to lower trade barriers for agriculture and industrial goods, including textiles and apparel, led to the collapse of the talks in September 2003, and again in the summers of 2006 and 2007.
U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said, "There's a very clear commitment by the Bush administration to see conclusion of the Doha Round in 2008." A deal would also have to deliver new trade flows, Schwab said, and added the only way to get that is to "cut into applied tariffs."
Celso Amorim, Brazil's foreign minister, said there was now a "window of necessity" to try and conclude a deal, and said failure "would give the wrong signals to the global economy. And this will be detrimental to everybody, most of all the developing economies."Similarly, European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said if the round was not concluded this year, it would not be possible in 2009 or even 2010 because the caravan would have moved elsewhere.
He said European business executives are telling him to give the round "a decent burial" if it can't be done in 2008.
Former U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman said in an interview that concluding the Doha Round "is not only politically possible, but politically necessary. In my view, finishing the round is more likely to be successful with this administration."
Similarly, Robert Zoellick, World Bank president, said in an interview, "I think from a global as well as a U.S. perspective, the U.S. should go ahead. There's a good deal on the table. It should conclude the deal, and then it should press the Congress, even with its protectionist impulses, to take the step to support international commerce."
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews