The Chair of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) General Council, Ambassador David Walker of New Zealand, aims to convene a special session of the council on the week of July 13 to discuss the selection of a new WTO chief, the organization's spokesman said on Friday
MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 29th May, 2020) The Chair of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) General Council, Ambassador David Walker of New Zealand, aims to convene a special session of the council on the week of July 13 to discuss the selection of a new WTO chief, the organization's spokesman said on Friday.
In mid-May, incumbent WTO Chief Roberto Azevedo announced his plans to step down in August, a year earlier than his second four-year term ends. He said that the WTO needs a more energetic leader, as it is basically "stuck" with internal problems. An appointment process for the next director-general will formally start on June 8. The member countries can nominate their nationals until July 8.
"What the chair said is that he would very much like to see that special General Council be organized the week of 13th of July. Now whether that will be a single General Council or there might be more than one, will depend on how many candidates we have," WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell said at an online briefing on the results of the General Council's videoconference held earlier on Friday.
The process of selecting a new leader is proving to be challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic, as normally the candidates have to travel a lot and hold numerous meetings to present their plans in the capitals of WTO members, as well as in Geneva, where the organization's HQ is located, according to the spokesman.
"The objective that has been set is to try to find a successor to Director-General Azevedo before he steps down on the 1st of September. For that to happen, we obviously have to expedite the process ... There was a great deal of support from the membership, almost all of them said they wanted to make sure the process was fair, transparent and inclusive, and that it gave to all the candidates the opportunity to speak before the membership, to engage with individual members whether in person or virtually," Rockwell added.
According to media reports, Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya and Dutch minister for foreign trade, Sigrid Kaag, could be nominated to succeed Azevedo.