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TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (May13/05)
8 May 2013
Third World Network 

D-G race narrows to Mexico's Blanco and Brazil's Azevedo
Pubished in SUNS #7575 dated 29 April 2013

Geneva, 26 Apr (Kanaga Raja) -- The consultation process for choosing the next Director-General of the WTO has now been narrowed down to a choice between Brazil's Roberto Carvalho de Azevedo and Mexico's Herminio Blanco.
 
This outcome of the second round of consultations held from 16-24 April was conveyed to an informal Heads of Delegation (HOD) meeting of the WTO General Council by its Chair, Ambassador Shahid Bashir of Pakistan.
 
The next round of consultations based on this slate of two candidates, where each member would be asked about his preference, would begin on 1 May and will continue through 7 May.
 
At the HOD Friday, Ambassador Shahid Bashir said that as a result of the second round of consultations, the three candidates least likely to attract consensus were those from Indonesia, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea. The results of the consultations had been conveyed on Thursday to the delegations of the five countries whose candidates figured in the second round of consultations.
 
Following the announcement of the second round of consultations at an informal meeting of the General Council on Friday, the delegations of Indonesia, New Zealand and South Korea announced the withdrawal of their candidates.
 
The appointment process for the next Director-General, to replace Mr Pascal Lamy when his second four-year term ends on 31 August, is being conducted by a "Troika", the General Council Chair, assisted as facilitators by the Chair of the Dispute Settlement Body, Ambassador Jonathan Fried of Canada, and the Chair of the Trade Policy Review Body, Ambassador Joakim Reiter of Sweden.
 
In his statement at the informal HOD meeting Ambassador Bashir said that the organisation of work for the second round of consultations followed closely that of the first round, and were conducted by the Facilitators and the Chair from 16 to 24 April, with each Member, being asked the same precise question, i. e. "What are your preferences?".
 
Each member was asked to provide two preferences, not more, not less, and 158 Members came forward to express their preferences.
 
(Since the full membership of the WTO is comprised of 159 Members, it appears that one Member did not come forward to express its preferences.)
 
Ambassador Bashir said, "the results that flowed from our consultations in this second round are clear and unambiguous."
 
"... practically all 158 Members came forward with two preferences", and only three Members deviated from this principle. These very few deviations did not affect the result of the consultations at all, he added.
 
Ambassador Bashir told the informal HOD, that on the basis of the consultations, the three candidates least likely to attract consensus were: Ms Mari Elka Pangestu (Indonesia), Mr Tim Groser (New Zealand), and Mr Taeho Bark (Republic of Korea).
 
The General Council Chair announced that the third round of consultations will begin on Wednesday afternoon, 1 May, and continue through midday Tuesday 7 May, and the aim of the Chair and facilitators in this final phase would be to bring them to the point "where we can make a recommendation to the General Council ... identifying the candidate around whom consensus can be built."
 
Ambassador Bashir said that the outcome of the round will be given to the Members who nominated candidates who are on the revised slate for round three immediately after the round. The following day, it will be reported to all Members at an open-ended meeting of Heads of Delegation, "which we intend to hold on Wednesday 8 May."
 
According to trade officials, the delegations of Indonesia, New Zealand and Korea announced that their governments were withdrawing the candidacies of their respective candidates.
 
According to trade officials, in withdrawing the candidate of Dr. Bark, Korea said that it was important that certain members including those acting as a group should be prudent in their actions because there could be ramifications for actions that are less than prudent.
 
Korea noted in this connection that some members did not give the strongly urged number of preferences despite the Troika's urging and this was something that was a problem in the first round.
 
Zimbabwe said that it would like to see clarification with respect to the way forward in the third round of consultations. It wanted to know whether the issue of breath of support was going to continue to be a factor, as well as the number of preferences extended to any candidate.
 
According to trade officials, the General Council Chair indicated that the breath of support is in the 2002 Guidelines (for the appointment of Directors-General) which is an important factor for considering the ability of the candidate to be able to garner a consensus.
 
Trade officials said that Kenya did not take the floor at Friday's informal meeting.
 
(In the last round of consultations where its candidate, Ms Amina C. Mohamed, was eliminated, Kenya had withheld consensus and had declined to withdraw its candidate. It subsequently sent a formal communication to the General Council Chair in which it said, amongst others, that the first round of consultations was "grossly flawed" and had eroded the credibility of the entire process. See SUNS #7565 dated 15 April 2013 and SUNS #7571 dated 23 April 2013.)

 


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