WASHINGTON — In an effort to help resuscitate global trade talks that collapsed last year, the top U.S. trade official will begin a globe-trotting tour in Tokyo on Wednesday.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick will visit with several high-level trade officials in key cities around the world on his two-week tour that will span Asia, Africa and Europe.
“We have an opportunity to get the Doha negotiations [the name of the World Trade Organization’s round of global talks] on a practical track toward success — 2004 need not be a lost year,” Zoellick said in a statement. “
Finding common ground in such a divisive global economy has proven to be a difficult task for all 146 WTO trade envoys, who want to finish the talks aimed at tearing down global trade barriers by the end of this year.
That ambitious deadline was called into doubt, however, when the WTO talks collapsed in September in Cancún, Mexico, after rich and poor countries failed to bridge their differences on everything from agricultural subsidies to trade rules covering government procurement regulations and foreign investment.
Since then, a group of developing countries known as the Group of 21 led by Brazil, China and India, which helped bring the talks to a standstill in Cancún, have shown a willingness to revive the talks.
However, they are still calling for the elimination of agricultural export subsidies and domestic support in developed countries, and that issue will remain one of the biggest obstacles in the months ahead.
In addition, a group of 29 African cotton-producing countries is still calling for cotton to be dealt with separately in the WTO talks — an issue the U.S. has so far rejected. The original four in Cancún —Benin, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mali — are also still pushing for compensation for poor farmers until the subsidies are eliminated.
Zoellick has proposed that WTO ministers aim for a key meeting in Hong Kong before the end of the year.
“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