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Brazil's Azevedo named to head world trade body

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Brazil's Azevedo named to head world trade body
Roberto Azevedo. Photo: WTO
22:20 CEST+02:00
Roberto Azevedo of Brazil was named as the new head of the Geneva-based World Trade Organization on Wednesday, vowing to battle economic protectionism and break the deadlock in talks aimed at liberalizing global commerce.

Career diplomat Azevedo, who currently represents Brazil at the WTO, was statesmanlike after defeating veteran Mexican trade negotiator Herminio Blanco in the final round of the contest which saw seven contenders stumble last month.
   
"I want to thank the other eight candidates. Their level of expertise and 
experience meant we would have a high-quality director general whatever the outcome," Azevedo told reporters.
   
His win is seen as a clear sign of the clout of emerging power Brazil — 
Azevedo underlined that Latin America is "more and more influential in global trade — though he has pledged to be a fiercely independent WTO boss.

The Brazilian is to be  appointed formally as WTO leader-designate at a General Council meeting on May 14th.

On Wednesday, Azevedo urged wrangling nations to think hard.
   
"What the WTO does has an impact on the lives of every citizen across the 
world, whether they realise it or not," he told reporters.
   
"At this point in time, it should not be about getting what we want. It 
should be about saving what we have. The only way to do it is to look forward, roll up our sleeves, sit down at the table in a solution-finding mode," he said.
   
"By solving the round, we would be taking the organisation away from 
paralysis," he added.
   
Azevedo is due to take over the WTO on 
September 1st from Frenchman Pascal Lamy, a former EU trade chief who steered the organization through two four-year terms.
   
Over coming months, WTO members are expected to make a string of attempts 
to pave the way for a strong December summit in Bali, though predictions of even limited success are gloomy.

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