Monday, February 11, 2013

What did the candidates say?

The race for the DG's position at the WTO is formally underway with the presentation and press conference made by the potential candidates in January 2013. The nominees currently vying for the WTO’s top post are Alan Kyerematen of Ghana; Anabel González of Costa Rica; Mari Elka Pangestu of Indonesia; Tim Groser of New Zealand; Amina Mohamed of Kenya; Ahmad Thougan Hindawi of Jordan; Herminio Blanco of Mexico; Taeho Bark of Korea; and Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo of Brazil. The WTO had a webcast of the press conferences here. Sofia Alicia Balino makes a succinct analysis of the positions taken by the 9 candidates on various issues here.

Some underlying themes expressed in the press conferences of the candidates were:

1. A belief in the multilateral institution and the faith that it can be relevant to the issues facing international trade

2. The need to address the issues stalling the Doha round of trade negotiations and to confront them with heterodox and innovative solutions

3. Ensure Bali leads to a positive outcome with successful results (mini-deals), which can be extended to the Doha round

4.Recognize the need for the WTO to grapple with 21st century trade issues in order not to lose its relevance

5. Ensure that the other functions of the WTO, including monitoring of trade agreements and dispute settlement are performed more effectively

6.They were candid enough to suggest that they did not have all the answers to the impasse but were optimistic of finding a solution 

The coming months will see more debate and hope for the multilateral institution's strength of being a "member-driven" organization with the candidates having to convince member countries about their candidacy. To what extent the selection would be based on credentials and realities of political economy is another debate!

Hat tip to Pradeep Mehta, CUTS for bringing my attention to Sofia's piece.

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