DAVOS WATCH: ECB stimulus in focus, WTO deal hopes raised

AP News
Posted: Jan 24, 2015 11:01 AM
DAVOS WATCH: ECB stimulus in focus, WTO deal hopes raised

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — The World Economic Forum held in the Swiss ski resort of Davos has the official goal of "improving the state of the world." In practice, it's a massive networking event that brings together 2,500 heads of state, business leaders, philanthropists and artists.

Here are some glimpses of what's being discussed at Davos on Saturday, the forum's last day:


Apparently agreeing to leave finger-pointing behind, trade ministers from many of the world's biggest economies have agreed to push this year to complete an elusive trade round launched in Doha, Qatar, in 2001.

Twenty-one members of the World Trade Organization — among them Brazil, China, the European Union, Japan, Russia and the United States — backed efforts to conclude the so-called Doha Round negotiations with the aim of dramatically lowering trade barriers and revising trade rules, according to Swiss Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann.

Schneider-Ammann, who chaired Saturday's meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, said the ministers expressed confidence they could achieve success and complete the round, mainly in the unresolved areas of agriculture, industrial products and services.

"The ministers have demonstrated a willingness to meet each other in an open, in a frank and in a constructive way," Schneider-Ammann told reporters. "It was the clearest commitment today I ever had before (seen)."

—By John Heilprin, Twitter: www.twitter.com/johnheilprin



That's the message to governments from Benoit Coeure, a leading official at the European Central Bank, in the wake of the bank's 1.1 trillion-euro ($1.2 trillion) stimulus.

"We have done our part, others have to do their part," he told a panel at the World Economic Forum.

He hoped the stimulus, which is designed to boost the ailing eurozone economy, will give governments the space and encouragement to embark on a raft of structural reforms such as making job markets more flexible.

"In the case of Europe, being patient is just a risk that we don't want to take," he said.

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Some in Europe, particularly in Germany, are worried however that the ECB's bond-buying program may ease the pressure on governments to reform their economies.

—By Pan Pylas, Twitter: www.twitter.com/panpylas



Sitting in silence on a chair and thinking of nothing is not something you'd think people come to do at Davos, a famous Swiss ski resort and a haven for a business networking.

But that's what dozens of business leaders, politicians and power brokers do every morning at a meditation session that kicks off the daily schedule.

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present, to the sensations in the body and calming the mind. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who has helped popularize the practice based on Buddhist and Yoga traditions, leads the sessions.

The meditation helps, among other things, to reduce stress — something a lot of participants at the World Economic Forum can use after a long week of back-to-back meetings.

—By Carlo Piovano, Twitter: www.twitter.com/cpiovano