Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Martin Hennecke

WTO faces leadership void amid tensions
The World Trade Organization will likely not appoint an interim chief to succeed outgoing Director-General Roberto Azevedo in late August, three sources following the process said, after Washington's insistence on a US candidate caused a deadlock. Keen to avoid a leadership void, WTO members were due to select an acting chief from among Azevedo's deputies to take over from the Brazilian while they consider eight candidates vying to head the global trade watchdog, which is facing an acute crisis amid rising US-China tensions and intense criticism from Washington. But under the new proposal, four deputies - from the United States, China, Germany and Nigeria - would keep their current responsibilities, instead of one being named to act as interim chief until Azevedo's replacement is chosen on November 7. "The US is insisting on an American, but China and Europe put the brakes on that," said a former WTO. A decision to finalise the interim arrangement is expected today.
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