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So the initial round of results are in and there were some surprises. Early this
month, odds makers in the United Kingdom and Ireland had Mr. Kyerematen, from Ghana, and Ms. Gonzalez, from Costa Rica, as the favorites to become the next director-general of the World Trade Organization, but both are out after the first round of consultations. Mr. Hindawi of Jordan and Ms. Mohamed of Kenya have also withdrawn. That leaves three candidates from the Asia-Pacific region—Bark of South Korea, Groser of New Zealand, and Pangestu of Indonesia—and two from Latin America—Azevedo from Brazil and Blanco from Mexico.
But this is not a game. The WTO is facing big challenges that the next director-general will have to handle. You can still listen to our Wonkcasts with the
remaining candidates, except for Mr. Groser who has not yet accepted. And for further discussion on the key challenges facing the next leader of the WTO,
Bernard Hoekman and Petros Mavroidis from the European University Institute are hosting a debate, and you can join the discussion here. The next round of consultations will begin next
week, and the final two should be announced by the end of the month.
Expectations were low for the eleventh World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires, and on most accounts it still managed to under-deliver. This time around, US and Indian negotiators refused to compromise in service of achieving a consensus agreement in any area. Roughly three quarters of WTO members endorsed a precedent-setting, albeit hortatory, declaration on women and trade; the United States and India did not. And there were statements from varying groups of “like-minded” countries to pursue work in areas that could eventually lead to “plurilateral” agreements. Still, it is not clear these efforts are any more likely to overcome the sharp differences that have prevented compromise among the broader membership. And if they do, they could end up marginalizing smaller, less powerful developing countries.
With a decade since the beginning of the major food price spike in 2007, Ministers gathering at the WTO Ministerial in Buenos Aires this week can make a positive impact on people's lives—with an agreement that will reduce the likelihood and impacts of a food price spike.
Trade ministers, while attending the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Nairobi, again managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat. Faced with the prospect of complete failure, ministers worked overtime to cobble together a package of mostly small, symbolic agreements at the WTO’s Tenth Ministerial Conference. While the outcome is not being greeted with the same dismay, Nairobi looks more like the Copenhagen summit on climate change than the recent session in Paris, which managed to bridge North-South differences.
When President Obama goes to India to help celebrate Republic Day, he will have two priorities: to further open India’s market to US exporters; and to energize India’s efforts to tackle climate change.