• Switzerland's news in English

Brazilian diplomat tipped to head WTO: sources

AFP · 7 May 2013, 20:49

Published: 07 May 2013 20:49 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Azevedo, currently Brazil's ambassador to the 159-nation WTO, pipped the former Mexican trade chief in a final round, the sources said on Tuesday, after seven other candidates stumbled earlier in the contest.
Azevedo and Blanco's campaign teams emerged tight-lipped from a meeting 
behind closed doors with Pakistan's WTO ambassador Shahid Bashir, who heads its Governing General Council.
No formal announcement was due until Wednesday, when WTO members were 
scheduled to meet to discuss the contest, while a General Council session next week will need to give Azevedo formal approval.
The WTO does not hold elections, but picks its chief by consensus, and 
along with his counterparts from Canada and Sweden, Bashir has spent weeks gauging countries' views on who is likely to muster the most support.
The current head of the WTO is Frenchman Pascal Lamy — a former trade 
chief of the European Union — who is due to step down on September 1st after two four-year terms at the helm.
His successor will face the tough task of trying to breath life into the 
WTO's moribund "Doha Round" of trade liberalisation talks, launched in 2001 with the goal of using international commerce to boost development in poorer member states.
On the eve of Tuesday's meeting, Blanco's campaign team had been in upbeat 
mode, telling AFP that without crying victory, they were "very, very confident".
Blanco, a 62-year-old economist, enjoys the reputation of a trade 
He was Mexico's negotiator for the 1994 North American Free Trade 
Agreement, served as a minister of commerce and also boasts solid private sector credentials.
He and Azevedo repeatedly flagged up their broad support across a range of 
nations and economic levels, from the poorest to the richest, and had pitched a similar vision for breaking the Doha deadlock.
But 55-year-old Azevedo's insider status appeared to have clinched the 
contest for the Brazilian.
He has been Brazil's WTO ambassador since 2008, after working as a chief 
litigator in high-profile trade disputes, making him well placed to navigate the system to try to clear the Doha logjam.
The Doha Round, launched at a summit in Qatar in 2001, aims to open markets 
and remove trade barriers such as subsidies, excessive taxes and regulations, in order to harness international commerce to develop poorer economies.
But the concessions needed have sparked clashes notably between China, the 
EU, India and the United States, and Lamy's replacement will need to build bridges.
An unprecedented nine names entered the race to succeed Lamy.

Since it was created in its current form in 1995, the WTO's chiefs have 
been Irish, Italian, New Zealander and Thai, and with Frenchman Lamy in charge since 2005, emerging economies were long keen to claim the slot.
Those who stumbled in the first round in mid-April were from Kenya, Ghana, 
Jordan and Costa Rica, while Indonesia, South Korea and New Zealand exited the race in the second round at the end of the month.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available