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The World Economic Forum at Davos is focusing on climate change this year. Today, Chancellor Sajid Javid will speak on a panel on the future of financial markets. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will address the world and Prince Charles will make a special address on sustainability.
12.02pm: President Trump holds impromptu press conference at Davos
President Donald Trump holds an impromptu press conference at Davos after a “tremendous two days”.
He repeats the employment and poverty figures from his keynote address yesterday.
Trump is joined by director-general of the World Trade Organisation Roberto Azevedo and says the body has “been very unfair to the US for many many years and without it, China wouldn’t be where they are right now.”
Azevedo says the WTO must be reformed and it is committed to effecting change. “I’m happy with the conversation with Trump today – he is agreed that this is something that needs to happen.”
Following his conversation with President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, yesterday he says: “The European Commission is tougher than China. They haven’t wanted to negotiate with other presidents but they will with me.”
He added, ‘They are more difficult to do business with than China, all you have to do is ask Boris… Boris has a lot of guts, I think he’s in a good position.”
Questioned on the Senate impeachment trial, Trump says he has “great respect” for the Senate but the impeachment is the “greatest witch hunt” and a “hoax”. Looking forward to the November election, the President says the Democrats cannot beat him.
Trump is asked for his thoughts on Greta Thunberg’s comments yesterday and he says: “She beat me to the front page of Time Magazine.”
However, he rows back on Thunberg’s ‘anger management’ issues and says: “I would have loved to see her speak.”
11.20am: Level global playing field needed, says von der Leyen
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, speaks about the benefits of a “level global playing field” on trade while stressing the importance of tackling climate change.
She suggests that a globalised price on carbon emissions may be a first step to normalising cross-border trade while also preventing irreversible climate change.
She announces that Europe will be the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 through the European Green Deal.
“We will do whatever it takes to unlock the investment, the innovation and the creativity that is needed.”
The EU considers data as a renewable resource will can be “opened up as a resource for innovation” by creating datasets that will be made available to European researchers. The project is called the European Open Science Cloud.
Von der Leyen speaks of the changing nature of the workforce and the need to modernise international leadership, particularly on climate change. She says: “We feel the urgency. The evidence is overwhelming.”
She criticises the way some leaders have dealt with change “at the exclusion of others – restricting internet, fueling nationalism, building on a narrative of us versus them.”
Praising the GDPR legislation, she suggests that a similar framework be introduced for artificial intelligence to protect consumers.
She concludes her keynote address with what could be a veiled attack on President Trump, saying: “We want to breathe clean air, and drink clean water.” Yesterday, Trump said “The US has among the cleanest air and drinking water on Earth.”
10.10am: The UK won’t U-turn on digital services tax, says Javid
Host Geoff Cutmore thanks Sajid Javid for breaking the Prime Minister’s ban on ministers attending Davos: “Thank you for coming, and drinking champagne with billionaires here”.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin kicks off the panel saying a trade deal with the UK is a “big priority of ours this year.” He added, “We thought we’d go ahead of Europe, they might be harder to deal with than us.”
Javid says that the UK’s priority is a comprehensive free trade agreement with Europe but they have started work on an agreement in the US.
He adds: “A free trade agreement between the sixth largest economy in the world and the largest economy in the world could benefit all consumers in terms of jobs and prices.”
UBS’s Axel Weber says that there is lots of expectation following the UK’s election. The Chancellor says there has been “huge boost in investor confidence” in recent weeks.
He said the result had removed the “double whammy of risk… the ‘Marxist agenda’ proposed by the Labour government and the certainty of Brexit.”
The panel also discuss the controversial digital services tax, which Mnuchin and Georgieva are critical of.
Javid rules out a U-turn on the tax despite the news that France had delayed its implementation yesterday.
He says: “We plan to go ahead with our digital services tax in April. As we said at the time, it is a proportionate tax and it is a tax that is deliberately designed as a temporary tax.”
9.15am: Javid to address future of financial markets at Davos 2020
Sajid Javid will today discuss the future of financial markets alongside US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva and UBS chairman Axel Weber.
The panel is set to discuss how financial markets can be more resilient in the face of technological disruption and systemic shifts.
Before becoming an MP in 2009, Javid was head of Deutsche Bank’s credit trading, equity convertibles, commodities and private equity in Asia.
In December Prime Minister Boris Johnson banned all cabinet ministers from attending Davos, to focus on “delivering for the people”. The chancellor is the only member of the government to attend.
Javid is expected to stay at the summit today and tomorrow but head home earlier than expected to attend cabinet meetings.
Prince Charles will also arrive at Davos today to launch his new initiative, the Sustainable Markets Council (SMC). He is said to be arriving at the summit in an electric car.
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, will also make speeches today.
Yesterday, President Trump blasted climate activists as “prophets of doom” in his keynote speech at Davos 2020. Activist Greta Thunberg scoffed at Trump’s commitment to the one trillion trees initiative.
She said: “Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fuelling the flames by the hour.”