New World Trade Organization head to meet late after US candidate

The WTO has postponed the meeting to be held next week.

Geneva, Switzerland:

The World Trade Organization postponed a meeting on Friday, where members had to try to pick a new leader, but with very little chance of success after Washington blocked the preferred candidate, AFP learned on Friday. .

It was to meet Monday among 164 member states of the World Trade Organization to choose between the two remaining candidates for the head of the struggling organization.

But the head of the selection committee told members trained to help with the process that the meeting is expected to be rescheduled on Friday.

“It has come to my attention that for reasons such as the state of health and the current events, the delegation will not be able to take a formal decision on November 9,” ​​General Council Chairman David Walker said citing the AFP press agency.

“So I postpone this meeting for as long as I continue to consult delegations,” he said.

The WTO’s selection committee, known as the Troika, held months of consultations with members to find a replacement for Roberto Azvedo, who stepped down as director-general a year earlier in August.

After gradually reducing the initial slate to eight candidates, Troika last week asked former Nigerian Finance and Foreign Minister Ngozi Okonzo-Iweala to get the consent needed to help the most.

But the final phase is expected to be a simple exercise in automatic approval, when a country, the United States, has announced its intention to support South Korea’s Minister of Commerce, Yoo Myung-hee.

The American announcement threw the victim of the leadership of the World Trade Organization into uncertainty.

Lately, many observers have insisted that member states are unlikely to agree on a new director-general as long as Donald Trump, perhaps the ugliest critic of the WTO, remains on the sidelines. White House, And urged to delay.

“They are right, that’s a good thing,” a European diplomat in Geneva told AFP after announcing the postponement of the meeting.

In theory, members could reject the principle of consensus and modify it for a vote, but such a process has never been practiced in the World Trade Organization.

In 1999, when members were unable to unanimously choose who should have four years at the helm, they chose to hand over the first two selections every three years instead of resorting to a vote.

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