Liam Fox named Bri­tain’s can­di­date for WTO top job

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Lizzy Bur­den

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.

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