WASHINGTON — Having caught their breath following this summer's fight to pass the Central American Free Trade Agreement, politicians are picking up the drumbeat again.
"We've got to move beyond the inward-looking mentality that opposes greater cooperation and ignores where our competition will be in 10 or 15 years," Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said Tuesday, noting that countries such as China and South Korea also are trying to become more competitive global players through free-trade pacts.
Key to the Bush administration's trade agenda, CAFTA squeaked through the House in July amid strong resistance from some domestic textile producers. The pact reduces trade barriers between the U.S., Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic, and potentially Nicaragua and Costa Rica when those countries approve it.
"Our driving objective should be to make the flow of commerce within the Americas both safe and seamless," said Gutierrez, addressing a meeting of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America.
The two-day meeting that ended Tuesday also offered Congressional views on the future of trade from Reps. James Moran (D., Va.) and Kevin Brady (R., Tex.).
Brady saw the passage of CAFTA as boding well for further trade initiatives, including the 34-nation Free Trade Area of the Americas and the negotiations within the World Trade Organization that aim to eliminate global tariffs.
"DR-Cafta was not the end," he said. "It's the beginning, I think a catalyst, for more trade and better and open markets."
As negotiators sit down for a 12th round of talks for a free-trade agreement with Andean nations in Colombia this week, Moran — one of the 15 Democrats to vote for CAFTA — said an agreement for the western hemisphere should be the ultimate objective.
"Trade is not as much any more about policy in the United States as it is about politics," he said. "I don't think that the longer-term outlook, at least for the next three years, is very encouraging."
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
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion