Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (May13/05)
8 May 2013
Third World Network
race narrows to Mexico's Blanco and Brazil's Azevedo
Pubished in SUNS #7575 dated 29 April 2013
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
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
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,
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
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
(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.)