The race to join the WTO Director General has completed the first round


The World Trade Organization (WTO) has gone one step further in the selection of the new general manager with the announcement of the first round selection results and the second round consultation schedule.

  Photo caption Five candidates for WTO General Director were selected for the second round (from left), Ms. Yoo Myung-hee (Korea), Mr. Liam Fox (UK), Ms. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigeria), Mr. Mohammed al-Tuwaijri (Saudi Arabia) and Mrs. Amina Mohamed (Kenya).  Photo: AFP / VNA
Photo caption Five candidates for WTO General Director were selected for the second round (from left), Ms. Yoo Myung-hee (Korea), Mr. Liam Fox (UK), Ms. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigeria), Mr. Mohammed al-Tuwaijri (Saudi Arabia) and Mrs. Amina Mohamed (Kenya). Photo: AFP / VNA

At the first round consultation to select the WTO’s General Director (from September 7-16), out of the 8 candidates, 5 people were selected to enter the second round: Ms. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigeria), Ms. Yoo Myung-hee (Korea), Ms. Amina C. Mohamed (Kenya), Mr. Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuaijri (Saudi Arabia) and Mr. Liam Fox (UK).

The Chairman of the WTO General Assembly, Ambassador David Walker (New Zealand) said that 164 WTO members have consulted secretly with the trio of the selection process, including the Chairman of the WTO General Assembly, along with two coordinators as the Chairman. Chairman of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (Ambassador Dacio Castillo of Honduras) and Chairman of the WTO Trade Policy Review (Ambassador Harald Aspelund of Iceland).

During the consultations, representatives of the WTO members answered the only question “Which candidates do you choose”, each member stated to choose 4 out of 8 nominated candidates. The members considered all the candidates to be highly qualified, personal and reputable, but the three least chosen candidates were from Moldova, Mexico and Egypt.

The second round of consultation will run from September 24 to October 6. Each WTO member continues to be invited to consult with the aforementioned trio and to give only two priority candidate options.

After the second round, the number of candidates in the final round will be reduced to 2 (3 will continue to withdraw). Under this process, Ambassador Walker will convene a meeting of the mission chief ambassadors next to the WTO to announce the results of the second round and the timetable for the third round of consultation, which is also the final round. The ultimate goal of the three-round consultation process is to secure the consensus decision of the WTO members on the appointment of the new director-general.

Previously, at the end of July, the WTO General Assembly agreed that there will be three consultation rounds to be held over a 2-month period, starting from September 7. During these two months, the number of candidates will be reduced from 8 to 5 and then 2 before reaching a consensus on which candidate will become the seventh general director of the WTO. The consultation process, run by the chairman of the WTO General Assembly and the two aforementioned coordinators, is established in accordance with guidelines set out in 2002 by the WTO General Assembly, with the highest level of support (number of Most favored members) for the candidate is an important basis in determining the candidate to reach the consensus of the members.

The selection process for the new WTO director general began on May 14, when former General Director Roberto Azevedo announced that he would resign a year ahead of his term. After that, he left office on August 31st.

During the one-month nomination period from June 7 to July 7, a total of eight candidates were introduced, including Dr. Jesus Seade Kuri of Mexico; Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria; Mr. Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh of Egypt; Mr. Tudor Ulianovschi of Moldova; Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee; Kenyan Minister of Education Amina C. Mohamed; Mr. Mohammed Maziad Al-Tuwaijri of Saudi Arabia; and Dr. Liam Fox of the UK.

It is expected that in next November, WTO members will complete three consultation rounds to decide on the selection of the new general director on the basis of consensus.

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