MILAN : An array of crises will keep several world leaders away from the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos next week, which takes place against a backdrop of deepening gloom over the global economic and political outlook.
Anxieties over trade disputes, fractious international relations, Brexit and a growth slowdown that some fear could tip the world economy into recession are set to dominate the Jan. 22-25 Alpine meeting.
The WEF’s own Global Risks Report set the tone this week with a stark warning of looming economic headwinds, in part because of geopolitical tensions among major powers.
Some 3,000 business, government and civil society figures are scheduled to gather in the snow-blanketed ski resort, but among them are only three leaders of the Group of Seven most industrialized countries: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte.
Donald Trump, who stole the Davos limelight last year with a rare appearance by a sitting U.S. president, pulled out of this year’s event as he grapples with a partial U.S. government shutdown.
On Thursday, the White House said Trump had also canceled his delegation’s trip to Davos because of the shutdown, now in its 27th day. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had been expected to lead the U.S. team, according to two senior administration officials.
French President Emmanuel Macron is also skipping the meeting as he seeks to respond to the “yellow vest” protests, while British Prime Minister Theresa May battles to find a consensus on Brexit. Reuters