June was meant to be the month that representatives of the World Trade Organisation’s 164 member states descended on Kazakhstan for its 12th ministerial conference.
The meeting was postponed, however, when director-general Roberto Azevedo, the Brazilian diplomat who has been in post since 2013, announced his surprise resignation last month – a year before his mandate expired.
Candidates to replace him have until July 8 to come forward, but the appointment is highly political. It must be made by consensus, will have to be agreed in about three months, rather than the usual six to nine months and comes amid a crisis moment when international trade faces a pandemic, global recession, a resurfacing US-China trade war and the US presidential election.
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