Costa Rica’s Foreign Trade Minister Anabel González stumbled in the race to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO), along with her counterparts from Jordan, Ghana and Kenya.
“We’ve had a meeting with the troika to brief us on the outcome of the consultations,” said Kenya’s Trade Ambassador Anthony Andanje, referring to the top diplomats who are steering the process by polling all 159 member nations of the body that sets the rules of global commerce.
“They told us that these were the candidates least expected to get broad support,” Andanje said in Geneva.
Brazil’s WTO Ambassador Roberto Azevedo is seen as a favorite in diplomatic circles, along with Indonesia’s former Trade Minister Mari Pangestu, whose country is due to host the WTO’s next summit at the end of this year – one of three women in the race, a first for the organization.
The remaining challengers are Mexico’s Herminio Blanco Mendoza, South Korean Taeho Bark and Tim Groser of New Zealand.
The main task for the WTO’s new director general will be to revive long-stalled talks on boosting international trade, which current director Pascal Lamy has warned could fail amid nations’ bickering.
Created in 1995, the WTO aims to advance global trade negotiations in a drive to spur growth by opening markets and removing trade barriers, including subsidies, excessive taxes and regulations.