The United Nations' Geographic Sciences Council (UN-GSC) has announced the location and dates of its upcoming forum on the International Date Line. The council will meet in Lisbon, Portugal, during the week of 4 - 8 June, 2007, to discuss proposals to relocate the Date Line from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.
The International Date Line was first laid down by cartographers in 1830 near the 180th meridian and its alignment was adjusted several times by treaty during the nineteenth century. In the last fifty years, however, trade between North America and Asia has grown so rapidly that businesses on both continents have been strained by their workweeks that only fully overlap on three days out of seven. Experts say that moving the Date Line to the Atlantic Ocean has the potential to bring about a doubling of pan-Pacific trade.
Opponents dismissed the economic rationale for the move, citing, instead, the loss of same-day Christian church services enjoyed by British and American satellite television viewers. An official for British Airways, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the airline would be reluctant to schedule any flights whose duration might exceed 24 hours.
The UN-GSC announcement failed to mention any of several anticipated proposals for relocating the Equator.