World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Roberto Azevêdo is stepping down early on Monday, September 7. Twenty-five years after its creation, the WTO faces the crisis of multilateralism. WTO Looking For a Director … And a Future.
WTO Looking For a Director … And a Future
Already paralyzed for several months, the World Trade Organization (WTO) must find a new director general. She begins this Monday, September 7 consultations to designate a successor to Roberto Azevêdo who announced in May his surprise departure, a year before the end of his second term.
The Brazilian then invoked “family reasons”. Since then, it has been learned that he will join the American beverage giant PepsiCo as vice president, which offends his former colleagues, but is not prohibited by the institution’s rules …
To replace him, eight candidates have declared themselves: three Africans, two Europeans, two Asians and one Latin American. None are imposed and it is difficult to predict the outcome of the process, as the WTO now appears in a zone of storm. The appointment of the director must be made after a series of “confessionals”, consultations during which each state indicates the names it wishes to see excluded from the list of candidates. Several rounds of consultation may take place, until a consensus is reached.
The United States Has Stalled the WTO
This time around, the process could drag on until the day after the US presidential election on November 3, with the United States also responsible for the crisis. Donald Trump, in fact, has for months sounded the charge against the WTO. He threatened to leave the organization and caused it to be paralyzed.
Washington, in particular, has systematically vetoed the replacement of judges on the appeals body of the dispute settlement body, in charge of settling trade disputes. Since December 2019, it is therefore no longer possible to reach a final judgment on conflicts between states, which is one of the essential functions of the WTO.
“Today, the WTO appears in a particularly dilapidated situation, summarizes Mathilde Dupré, who is publishing a book on international trade on September 10 (1). It operates on two legs: on the one hand, negotiation of trade agreements and on the other, conflict resolution. However, it has not obtained any substantive agreement since its creation and the regulator is paralyzed. ”
Eight Candidates For a Chair
Liam Fox, 58, former UK trade minister.
Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh, 68, former senior WTO official, Egypt.
Amina Mohamed, 58, former Ambassador of Kenya to the WTO.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, 66, former Director of World Bank Operations, Nigeria.
Jesus Seade Kuri, 73, former Deputy Director General of the WTO, Mexico.
Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, 53, banker, Saudi Arabia.
Tudor Ulianovschi, 37, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Moldova.
Yoo Myung-hee, 53, former trade minister of South Korea.