Davos Matters Even Without Trump, WEF Founder Tells Le Temps

(Bloomberg) -- The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos next week remains relevant even though U.S. President Donald Trump and other major world leaders won’t attend it this year, Klaus Schwab, the Forum’s founder, told Le Temps.

Trump called off his attendance earlier this month because of the government shutdown and as it extended, also canceled on Thursday the planned trip of a U.S. delegation, which included Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron also won’t participate at this year’s meeting.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazil’s recently sworn-in President Jair Bolsonaro will be the leaders topping the list of attendees at the Davos gathering which begins on Jan. 22.

The planned meeting between U.S. and Chinese delegations “was supposed to be one of the highlights this year,” but there will still be about 800 participants from the U.S., “including the heads of the biggest companies,” Schwab told the Geneva-based newspaper in an interview published on Saturday.

“We can also count on the presence of about 60 heads of state,” he said. “This proves that Davos remains unavoidable.”

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