So what was actually achieved at Davos?

Most business leaders attend not to learn about the latest trends in robotics or the arts, but to do business. (Reuters)
Updated 26 January 2019

So what was actually achieved at Davos?

  • From resolutions and understanding on climate change, to statements of intent on economic policy and international relations, they were all worthy developments

DAVOS: As the last of the private jets left Davos on Friday, many were asking: What exactly was achieved at the annual meeting of the global elite?

One WEF official said wearily: “They ask that every year, but it’s not really the point. It is always good to talk to different people, and as somebody said, if you’re talking it means you’re not fighting.”

But it is an increasingly touchy subject for the WEF. The forum pointedly issued a press release on the final day listing “33 ways Davos 19 made an impact on the world.” From resolutions and understanding on climate change, to statements of intent on economic policy and international relations, they were all worthy developments.

Global themes were the biggest newsmakers. The US-China “trade war” was probably the most often-heard phrase, followed by growing concern over the global economy; Brexit was never far from the top of the agenda; Venezuela dominated proceedings toward the end of the week.

Climate change and environmental concerns were also dominant, partly because of the eloquent advocacy of Sir David Attenborough.

The Middle East was a constant theme too, not least because of the big presence of leaders from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Arab states. Most sessions on Middle East subjects — from security to economic transformation to energy— were packed.

In any case, most business leaders attend not to learn about the latest trends in robotics or the arts, but to do business. One global corporate chief told Arab News he had fitted 50 “bilaterals” — deal-doing business meetings — into three days.


China appeals to Washington for quick end to trade war

Updated 9 min 27 sec ago

China appeals to Washington for quick end to trade war

  • Beijing says it will buy more American goods but has yet to confirm the details
  • Tariff hikes by both sides on billions of dollars of imports have battered factories and farmers

BEIJING: China appealed to Washington for a quick end to their trade war but gave no indication Thursday what additional steps Beijing might want before carrying out what President Donald Trump says is a promise to buy up to $50 billion of American farm goods.
Trump agreed Friday to delay a tariff hike in exchange for Chinese purchases of US exports. Beijing says it will buy more American goods but has yet to confirm the details, leaving companies wondering whether Chinese leaders have other demands including a possible end to punitive US tariffs before that goes ahead.
Negotiators are “striving to reach a consensus on the text of the agreement as soon as possible,” said a Ministry of Commerce spokesman, Gao Feng. “I can’t disclose the specific details.”
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters Wednesday that officials were still ironing out details of a preliminary agreement.
Companies welcomed the deal as a small but promising possible step toward breaking a deadlock in the 15-month-old fight over China’s trade surplus and technology ambitions.
Tariff hikes by both sides on billions of dollars of imports have battered factories and farmers, weighing on global economic growth. Trump delayed a tariff due to take effect Tuesday on $250 billion of Chinese goods but another increase on $160 billion of imports still is scheduled for Dec. 15.
Economists warned the truce fails to address more basic complaints about Beijing’s plans for government-led creation of global competitors in robotics and other technologies.
Washington, Europe, Japan and other trading partners say those violate Chinese market-opening commitments and are based on stealing or pressuring companies to hand over know-how.
China wants “economic and trade relations back on the right track at an early date,” Gao said at a weekly news briefing.
Achieving results will “restore market confidence and also is highly significant for stabilizing the global economic situation,” he said.
On Tuesday, a foreign ministry spokesman said China would “further speed up procurement” of American farm exports but gave no scale or time frame.
China has bought 20 million tons of US soybeans and 700,000 tons of pork this year, according to the spokesman, Geng Shuang. China imported about 33 million tons of American soybeans annually before the tariff fight and collapsed to 16.6 million tons last year.