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."
“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
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye