‘New WTO head should be capable of managing profound reform’

The new chief of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) should be “capable of managing profound reforms of the organization”, said Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission.

The trade ministers of the European Union (EU) strongly support this principle, Xinhua news agency quoted Dombrovskis as saying on Monday following an informal meeting in Berlin.

The EU will support the candidate who is able to fix the dispute settlement system, re-initiate global trade negotiations and address the current challenges in international trade, in particular sustainability and the need for a level playing field, he added.

Dombrovskis didn’t give any name, but said the new director-general must enjoy the trust of WTO members and can present balanced views that reflect the diverse nature of members.

The five candidates remaining in the race for the post are Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria, Yoo Myung-hee from South Korea, Amina Mohamed from Kenya, Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri from Saudi Arabia, and Liam Fox from the UK.

The process for selecting a new chief was triggered on May 14, when former Director-General Roberto Azevedo informed WTO members he would step down a year his term officially ends.

The Brazilian career diplomat subsequently left office on August 31 after serving seven years at the helm of the Geneva-based organization.