WASHINGTON — U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk notified Congress on Wednesday that the U.S. plans to enter into negotiations with 20 countries on a new international services agreement, which could have implications for retailers.
The negotiations will begin in Geneva within the next 90 days with 20 trading partners that represent nearly two-thirds of global trade in services. The initial group of trading partners will include the European Union, Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, China, Iceland, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Switzerland and Turkey.
“Every $1 billion in U.S. services exports supports an estimated 4,200 U.S. jobs in America,” Kirk said in a letter to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. “If business services achieved the same export potential as manufactured goods globally, U.S. exports could increase by as much as $800 billion. To begin to realize this potential, we need to surmount a range of barriers that lock out, constrain or disrupt the international supply of services. An ambitious, high-standard international services agreement presents a tremendous opportunity to remove these impediments and boost U.S. economic growth and support additional jobs.”
It is a new path forward for World Trade Organization member nations, which have been deadlocked for more than a decade over a broader global trade accord aimed at liberalizing billions of dollars in trade, including services, manufacturing and agriculture products.
WTO talks on the broader accord have been stalled since negotiations were launched in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001, primarily over vast differences between rich and poor nations over how to cut agriculture subsidies.
The new international services agreement launch is considered a greatly scaled back objective that will not include manufacturing or agriculture.
But it could bring new opportunities for retailers.
“Retailers welcome the launching of negotiations on a services agreement, and hope that it can be the catalyst for a more comprehensive WTO agreement that would include the large emerging retail markets of China, India and Brazil,” said Erik Autor, vice president and international trade counsel at the National Retail Federation. “Consumer spending in these markets is growing at a much higher rate than in the mature markets in the U.S. and Europe that are still struggling to overcome the effects of the global recession and high unemployment. An agreement would include market opening in distribution services, which includes retail. As U.S. retailers increasingly look beyond American borders to reach foreign customers through brick-and-mortar, Internet and other retail channels, the opportunities to address restrictions to foreign direct investment by retailers and other barriers hindering retail operations become ever more important.”
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
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye