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Getting decidedly nervous on Doha talks

January 25, 2007

davos3.jpgA few things are becoming clear as the WEF’s annual meeting slides out of its second day. For one, businesses are getting decidedly nervous about the possibility that the Doha Trade round will not restart.
    Microsoft’s Bill Gates had a private chat with World Trade Organisation director general Pasal Lamy on the sidelines here.
Gates was coy about the meeting but it came as other very interested parties started to get the gloves out. Fifteen heavy hitters, including bosses from Unilever, British Airways, Alcoa and Goldman Sach made it clear they had had enough of stalled trade negotiations.
    Words like “damage”, “destruction” and “failure” peppered a joint statement that had some here noting that business was suddenly realising that Doha, which is stalled, could end completely. Trade ministers meet at the weekend.
    Climate change is the other big item. Although some have
complained that it is simply a trendy subject, it is a top item. That can be seen from Chinese officials pledging to have the huge developing market become more efficient in energy use — even if they reckon the big job is for the West.
    Bono and Blair get their turn on Friday so Africa may get its moment in the snow.

 

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