Azevedo, Pangestu have edge over Groser – Inside US Trade

Inside US Trade is predicting the race for the WTO Director-General”s job is narrowing to an Indonesia-Brazil showdown.

 As I noted in my column in the NZ Herald last week the key contest in the second “sudden death” round is between Groser, Brazil”s WTO ambassador Roberto Calvalho de Azevedo (reported as having an edge in diplomatic circles) and Indonesia”s former trade minister Mari Pangestu (the sole female candidate left in the race). Azevedo is expected to cancel out Mexico”s Hermino Blanco and South Korea” s Taeho Bark is seen as an outlier. Inside US Trade notes Groser”s charisma and skills but places more weight on the ability of candidates Azevedo and Pangestu to orchestrate support from capitals. The outcome of round two is expected to be known later this week when the current shortlist of five is narrowed to two.
An earlier Inside US Trade report noted:

There are rumors in Geneva that the BRICs countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China — are all supporting Azevedo, although this could not be verified. One informed source said there had been no coordination among those delegations on this matter, but speculated that Azevedo would receive support from these countries. Much of the decision-making is likely to be political. Especially among the frontrunners, Geneva sources generally said that it is difficult to differentiate between their respective visions for the organization or determine who is really best equipped to address what ails the WTO.

One reason is that, because the WTO is a member-driven organization and the director-general is expected to serve a facilitating role, candidates have been cautious  On line  casino s that disallow blackjack from their bonuspresents shed a good deal ofreally good consumers. not to be overly proscriptive — at least not publicly — about how to bridge the existing divisions among WTO members. This means that many members are weighing other factors, like the economic policies of the countries from which they come and their perceived leadership skills.

For instance, countries who support free trade may be more drawn to Gonzalez ( Ed”s Note: Gonzalez was dropped after round one) or Groser, whose countries generally support trade liberalization. Countries more cautious on the issue of trade liberalization may be more attracted to Azevedo or Pangestu, as Brazil and Indonesia in recent years have both implemented policies that have limited opportunities for foreign firms in an effort to boost their own economies, sources said.

But another factor is whether candidates have the perceived ability to spur forward progress among the entire membership. For instance, one Washington-based observer argued that even if the U.S. were wary of Brazil”s industrial policies, it may be wise to support Azevedo because he has “credibility” among the entire WTO membership, including developing country members.

Kim Elliot, a trade policy expert at the Center for Global Development, noted this week that simply knowing how Geneva works is not enough to be an effective leader. Instead, the next director-general needs to have the trust of the entire membership, and have the political skills to broker tough deals, especially as the major division in the WTO right now relates to the extent to which major emerging countries like China should benefit from special flexibilities.

In private meetings with the candidates, delegations have tried to dig deeper into how they would respond in certain scenarios in order to get a sense of their leadership capabilities, sources said.

 

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