An Early Front-Runner Emerges in the Race to Lead the WTO



Bryce Baschuk | Bloomberg

Champagne receptions at lakeside villas. Rosé luncheons at the Intercontinental Hotel. Even during a pandemic, the feting of Geneva’s trade diplomats continues apace.

Last week the eight candidates to lead the World Trade Organization wined and dined delegates and made their case for why they’re the best person to right a sinking ship.

One by one the candidates explained their vision for fixing the WTO’s moribund negotiating function, its paralyzed dispute settlement system and the various other ailments that have sidelined the world’s foremost arbiter of trade.

At the close of the week there was a general perception that Kenya’s nominee, Amina Mohamed, is the early front-runner.

She checks many of the boxes that delegates say they are looking for in the next WTO director-general, a job never held by a woman. She’s a former WTO ambassador, an ex-trade minister and a previous chair of a WTO ministerial conference.

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