Ricardo Azevedo who is the current Director General of WTO, is reported to be leaving the trade organization on August 31.
Azevedo will be leaving WTO one year before his mandate was due to expire. Personal issues has been cited as the reason for his leaving.
The 62-year old Brazilian has served as the Director General of WTO since September 2013. His second four-year term was due to end in August 2021.
In addition to personal issues, Azevedo has also stated that his timing of stepping down will allow for a successor to be chosen before the WTO meetings next year. Moreover, he also added that it will be a good time for the successor to face “the new post-Covid realities.”
According to the analysts, irrespective of who the successor is, it is important for the trade body to regain credibility during this time. The pandemic has resulted in international trade being the least worries for the countries, and therefore many are questioning the future of WTO as an advocate of international trade.
The WTO was established in 1995, but critics say that the organization has failed to evolve since its creation.
The new Director General of WTO is to be selected from the following five candidates.
1) Jesus Seade Kuri, Mexico
An economist who has been working for the Mexican foreign affairs ministry since 2018, Jesus Seade Kuri was the country’s chief negotiator for the U.S., Mexico and Canada Trade Agreement, known as USMCA.
2) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a global finance expert who has served as the country’s finance minister on two occasions. She has been named one of the “eight female anti-corruption fighters who inspire” in 2019 by Transparency International. In 2014, Time magazine stated that Okonjo-Iweala was among the 100 most influential people in the world.
3) Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh, Egypt
Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh is a consultant since 2017, but had previously worked at the WTO. He was the director of trade in services and investment division of the institution between 2001 and 2017.
4) Tudor Ulianovschi, Moldova
Tudor Ulianovschi served as Moldova’s minister of foreign affairs between 2018 and 2019, and has been a diplomat for 15 years.
5) Yoo Myung-hee, Republic of Korea
Yoo Myung-hee is the minister of trade for Korea. She was the first female to have the job and has held different positions that cover the same area. Back in 1995, she was in charge of WTO affairs at the Korean trade ministry.
6) Amina C. Mohamed, Kenya
Amina C. Mohamed served as the former foreign affairs and international trade minister of Kenya between 2013 and 2018. In this role, she chaired the 2015 WTO ministerial conference in Nairobi — the first African to lead the highest WTO forum.
7) Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri is the minister advising the royal court on international and local economic strategic matters in Saudi Arabia.
8) Liam Fox, United Kingdom
Liam Fox is a former U.K. secretary of state for international trade. He currently is a lawmaker at the U.K. Parliament.
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