As the World Trade Organisation started to look for a new head, it was also struggling to remain relevant after repeated failures to revive global trade liberalisation talks.
Pascal Lamy, who steps down as director general of the WTO at the end of August, vowed in 2005 to make liberalisation his “first, second and third priority”, but by 2011 was finally forced to declare that talks on the issue were at an “impasse”.
The new chief will have to decide how to revive the so-called Doha talks, launched in that city in 2001, and which were intended to further liberalise trade in ways that would particularly help developing countries.
With Doha stalled, regional and bilateral trade deals have flourished, which could threaten to sideline the WTO.
“The big question is this: does the WTO retain its centrality in the trading system? It’s down to the next WTO head,” said Simon Evenett, professor of international trade at St Gallen University in Switzerland.
Lamy himself said recently that the major challenges for the new holder of the top job will be strengthening world trade, further opening trade and restricting protectionist tendencies.
The weak global economy makes the job of the next WTO head even more difficult.
World trade growth dropped from 13.8 percent in 2010 to 5.0 percent in 2011 and an estimated 3.7 percent last year. It is forecast to rise just 5.6 percent this year.
There are nine candidates being interviewed by the WTO – from Latin America – Brazil, Costa Rica and Mexico; Africa – Ghana and Kenya; the Middle East – Jordan – and the Asia-Pacific region – Indonesia, New Zealand, and South Korea. Three are women.
The winner will be expected to untie the Doha Gordian Knot – to give developing countries a fairer deal on agriculture and better access to rich markets for their exports and services.
The new director general will be named by the end of May.
- 1‘iStruggle’ – how Apple Is trying to get its groove back
- 2Brazil: dam collapse lawsuit seeks billions from mining companies
- 3Where’s the money? UN tax haven report details billions moving around the world
- 4Waste not, want not: boosting business with leftover food
- 5All signs point to weaker Q2 growth for the eurozone
- 1Brazil: dam collapse lawsuit seeks billions from mining companies
- 2Where’s the money? UN tax haven report details billions moving around the world
- 3Takata airbag recalls in US to expand by up to 40 million
- 4No buyers for Philips lighting division means it gets spun off
- 5Waste not, want not: boosting business with leftover food
latest economy news
Turkish financial markets remain nervous over political turmoil
Tussle over 500 euro notes ends with slow phasing out
Referendum fears hit UK services growth
All signs point to weaker Q2 growth for the eurozone
Services and construction jobs reduce Spanish unemployment total for April
Wires > Business
- 19:46 CET Barclays raises $876 million from African business share sale
- 18:22 CET GSK chairman rules out near-term break-up of drugmaker
- 18:20 CET Renault to build new car in Spain, invest over 600 mln euros
- 17:58 CET Oil rivals cooperate to slash equipment costs – Shell
- 16:44 CET Japan’s Abe says Brexit would make UK less attractive for Japanese…
- 14:43 CET BT to invest 6 billion pounds on broadband and mobile upgrades
- 13:41 CET Alibaba’s revenue rises 39 percent as more shoppers buy online
- 13:38 CET Britain’s economy slows, risks stalling as EU vote nears – PMI