Liam Fox named Britain’s candidate for WTO top job
LIAM FOX, the former international trade secretary, has been named as Britain’s candidate to lead the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Downing Street confirmed that it had nominated Dr Fox, the Conservative MP for North Somerset and a prominent Brexiteer, to replace the Brazilian diplomat Roberto Azevedo as director-general when he leaves the commerce regulator in August.
Nominations for the position closed yesterday.
Dr Fox’s competition includes Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former Nigerian finance minister, and Amina Mohamed, the former Kenyan foreign minister, either of whom would be the first woman and first African to lead the body.
They are battling for the backing of the African Union against the Egyptian candidate Hamid Mamdouh, a former WTO director of trade in services and investment.
David Tinline, former senior adviser to Mr Azevedo, said: “It’s an encouraging sign for the WTO that there are some great candidates in the race. Amina Mohamed is well known and liked in Geneva.
“Among a strong field, she’s probably the closest thing to a front runner, alongside Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.”
The other candidates are Jesús Seade Kuri, the Mexican economist, diplomat and former WTO official; Yoo Myunghee, the South Korean trade minister; Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, chief of the Saudi royal court and a former economy minister and the former Moldovan foreign minister Tudor Ulianovschi.
Spain’s foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said “it would be prudent” to rule out speculation of her own candidacy.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman described Dr Fox as “a passionate advocate of multilateralism”, with “first-hand experience of the political and technical challenges of negotiating trade agreements and the reforms that are needed to ensure the global trading system truly delivers for all WTO members”.
He denied that being a Brexiteer was a necessary qualification for senior appointments.