The World Trade Organization (WTO) has been in crisis with leadership for a long time. US President Donald Trump also has no confidence in the WTO.
The US president has been threatening to leave the organization since 2018 if he does not change his policy on the United States. Many observers fear, The United States could disrupt the process of nominating a new WTO director-general. The organization may remain without leadership for a long time.
Roberto Azevedo, the director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), announced his resignation in July this year. Yesterday, his full term of office ended. Though, Azevedo resigned prematurely WTO is facing a crisis. Because there is a lot of speculation about who is going to be the next director-general, it has not been decided yet. This situation could last for the next few months.
Analysts believe the issue will be prolonged by the use of US power to appoint the next director-general.
Only one person can be appointed who can continue the suspended trade talks in the future. At the same time, he has the power to lead trade tensions between the United States and China. Of course, because of the coronavirus epidemic member states need to be helped to overcome the economic downturn.
Manfred Elsig, a professor of international relations at the World Trade Organization in Bern told AFP that the United States wanted the new leadership to address US concerns. Many of these are related to China, which complicates the appointment of the director-general.
Azevedo, a 62-year-old Brazilian diplomat, took over as WTO Director-General (DG) for the first time in 2013. After that get the responsibility again. His second term was due to end in 2021. Azevedo said the reason for leaving the Director-General was personal. However, he also said, It is good to have a separate leader in the organization to face the new reality after Covid-19.
I wish the next DG every success in addressing the challenges ahead. I will certainly be supportive of the @WTO’s efforts and will be a passionate advocate for the system wherever the future takes me 8/9
— Roberto Azevêdo (@WTODGAZEVEDO) July 23, 2020
The WTO has already nominated eight candidates. Of these, three are African, two are European, two are Asian and one is Latin American. However, it has not been finalized yet.
Professor Elsig said many WTO members are hoping for a change in administration. But they want to wait until after the US election. All in all, it could take until mid-November to get a new director-general. However, as international tensions escalate and the politics of selection picks up, this temporary deadline could be extended.
Elvire Fabry, a researcher at the Jack Dealers Institute, thinks Washington wants to go longer than the interim forecast. They do not want to put any European in this post.