Brazil's Roberto Azevedo gets top WTO post

Brazil's Roberto Azevedo gets top WTO post
Brazil's Roberto Azevedo has been named as the new head of the World Trade Organisation, the first Latin American to hold the post. He beat Mexican nominee Herminio Blanco in the final round, marking the growing role of the region in the world economy.

Roberto Azevedo is Brazil's ambassador to the WTO, and will take over from France's Pascal Lamy who steps down after seven years in the job in August. His appointment will be formally announced by the WTO late on Wednesday.  

The new head will have to put a lot of effort into restoring the organization’s credibility, and resume the Doha round of global trade negotiations essential to keep the organization 'relevant'. 

Roberto Azevedo was among those who spoke of the need to conclude the Doha talks and “find a dynamic of negotiations that accommodates almost all of the 160 countries of various shapes, sizes, and levels of development.” The Doha Round has been stalled for over a decade due to a conflict of interests between the key developed members of the WTO, such as the US and the EU, and developing economies such as India, China and Brazil. 

Azevedo’s supporters believe that with him being a WTO insider and his broad backing across many emerging markets could be essential in building new relations between conflicting WTO members and reinvigorate talks ahead of a December ministerial conference in Bali, the Financial Times reports.

“We need to figure out how to have everyone interact in a positive and constructive way,” Azevedo told the Center for Global Development in April. 

"The Brazilian Government welcomes the selection of Ambassador Roberto Azevêdo as Director-General of the World Trade Organization. Still under the effects of the global crisis that began in 2008, it will be up to the WTO in the coming years to give a new, balanced and vigorous impetus to world trade, which is fundamental for the global economy to enter a new period of growth and social justice. By nominating Ambassador Azevêdo as a candidate for this high office, Brazil was confident that his experience and commitment could lead the organization towards a more dynamic and fair world economic order,” the Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said in a statement.