GENEVA — European Union trade commissioner Pascal Lamy said Tuesday that the elimination of all import duties on selected industrial products — including textiles, clothing and footwear — “is out of reach” due to strong...
GENEVA — European Union trade commissioner Pascal Lamy said Tuesday that the elimination of all import duties on selected industrial products — including textiles, clothing and footwear — “is out of reach” due to strong objections by a group of developing nations that appear to be gaining significant clout in World Trade Organization talks seeking to further liberalize global trade.
Officials from the U.S. and Canada, which, along with Japan, have supported the push to eliminate tariffs, were taken aback by Lamy’s statement and indicated they would push onward, despite his new position.
Lamy cited “G-20 hostility” as the reason for his stance. The G-20 — an informal alliance in the global trade talks that includes Brazil, India, Argentina, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and South Africa — has emerged as a formidable counterweight to the U.S. and the EU in the global talks. Members of the group walked out of the September round of WTO talks in Cancún, Mexico, leading to the premature end of that meeting.
Lamy said, “My sense is that mandatory sectoral negotiations are out of reach, notably because of the G-20 position.”
He said he would be willing to continue negotiations on sectors where the developing nations were willing to discuss the elimination of tariffs, but added: “My sense is that there won’t be much of that.”
Recent WTO discussions have centered on scrapping duties in eight industrial sectors — including textiles and clothing — that together are worth more than $1 trillion in trade. International trade in textiles and clothing alone is worth $353 billion. Other sectors of interest include automotive products, footwear and electrical and electronic goods.
When the 147 nations of the WTO drop their quotas on textiles and apparel on Dec. 31, tariffs will remain as the sole major system of regulating imports of those goods.
In response to Lamy’s comments, Sergio Marchi, Canada’s WTO ambassador, said, “We still think sectorals are important and we’re not prepared to give them up.”
Likewise, a U.S. trade official in Geneva, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the U.S. remained committed to the goal. “We have to figure out a way to get critical mass,” he said.U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick earlier this month said the negotiations would need “critical mass” to get started.
His point was that all the major trading partners involved in a given sector of goods would need to be ready to discuss duty elimination before talks could really get started.
In a letter to WTO trade ministers earlier this month, Lamy said the market access talks on industrial goods “have lost momentum and must regain it because we know this is where the gains in the round will be the greatest.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast