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WTO Chief to step down on August 31 amid the global economic crisis

Roberto Azevedo, WTO Director-General announced that he would step down from his position on August 31, 2020. It will cut his second term short exactly by one year.

May 15, 2020 15:50 IST
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The World Trade Organisation (WTO) chief Roberto Azevedo resigned from his position on May 14. The unexpected resignation came amid the ongoing global economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WTO released a statement mentioning that at a virtual meeting of WTO members, the Director-General announced that he would step down from his position on August 31, 2020. It will cut his second term short exactly by one year.

The Brazilian career diplomat’s second four-year term was scheduled to end on September 2021.

Roberto Azevedo’s statement:

The WTO chief stated that to resign from a position is a personal decision- a family decision and he is convinced that his decision will serve in the best interest of the organization.

The chief further stated that he will be working to strengthen and improve this organization until his last day in the office and beyond. He also added that WTO may not be perfect but it is indispensable and this is what keeps us from a world where the jungle law prevails at least as far as trade is concerned.

Selection of the new WTO Chief:

Roberto Azevedo talked about his departure which will allow the members to select his successor in the upcoming months, without diverting the attention and political energy from the preparations for the Twelfth Ministerial Conference, which scheduled to be held in 2021.

The WTO chief suggested that the successor must be given sufficient time to plan, together with the members, the path not only for MC12 but in what way the conference fits in the members' plans for the future of the organization.

Suggestions for WTO for the year 2021:

Roberto Azevedo suggested that the organization must start the year 2021 with a focus on the real challenges. It must ensure that in 2021, the multilateral trading system responds to new economic realities, the post-COVID-19 recovery.

About World Trade Organization:

WTO is an intergovernmental organization. It is concerned with the regulations of International trade that takes place between the nations.

The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995, under the Marrakesh Agreement that replaced the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The headquarters of WTO is in Geneva, Switzerland and it is the largest international economic organization in the world.

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