LOBBYING FOR TEXTILES: European and U.S. textile and apparel industry groups completed a lobbying blitz in Geneva Wednesday, urging trade diplomats involved in the World Trade Organization-sponsored Doha trade talks to treat the sector separately in agreeing on a formula for tariff reduction. William Lakin, director general of the European Apparel & Textile Organization, said, “A sectorial approach is required if proper account is to be taken of the needs of this industry, wherever it may be found, including in the European Union.” Lakin told a meeting of negotiators at WTO headquarters that his group wants “an outcome which does provide us future opportunities for export growth … in other words, a harmonization of tariffs … for all but the least-developed countries at a bound level of below 15 percent.” Mexico and Turkey were supportive of a separate track, while India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong stressed the focus should be on the rich countries lowering their high tariffs. Kenya said it wanted to keep its preferences and expressed concern that deep tariff cuts could erode them.
MACY’S AND UNION TO SETTLE: Macy’s said Thursday it has reached a tentative agreement with the union representing employees at the Herald Square flagship and the Queens, Parkchester and White Plains, N.Y., stores. The agreement has averted the possibility of a weekend strike. Macy’s has been negotiating a new five-year contract with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Local 1-S. The union had voted to authorize a strike if a deal wasn’t reached by March 3, when the contract was set to expire a minute before midnight.