Tim Groser out of WTO Race
A Latin American is set to head the World Trade Organization after the field for its next director general narrowed to Mexico’s former trade minister Herminio Blanco and Brazilian diplomat Roberto Azevedo, according to The Washington Post. The two are all that remains from an original list of nine candidates, which had included New Zealand Trade Minister, Tim Groser. Mr. Groser, along with Indonesia’s Mari Paestum and South Korea’s Taeho Bark were all asked to withdraw their bids after they failed to get enough support from the WTO’s 159 members. Whoever is eventually selected by the end of May will take on an organization that is at a crossroads, with the future of its role as a multilateral forum for negotiations in doubt, says the Post. ‘While the Geneva-based WTO will remain an important institution for its dispute settlements and policy-monitoring functions, the rise of regional and bilateral trade functions had created doubts about whether the WTO is a place where negotiations can occur,’ the Post notes. The winner will be selected by confidential polling among WTO members, and announced at the end of May. They will succeed Director-General Pascal Lamy of France, whose second four-year term expires on Aug. 31. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said he was disappointed that Trade Minister Tim Groser missed out on the top job. ‘This is obviously disappointing, not only for Tim Groser and the Government, but for all those WTO members and people in the wider trade community who were hoping to see him secure this role. We were grateful for the expressions of support from around the world,’ Mr. Key said.