Things Fall Apart At WTO As Organisation Is Unable To Appoint Interim Chief While Vetting Process For New DG Continues
The beleaguered World Trade Organization said its members failed to agree yesterday on appointing one of the four deputy directors-general as an interim chief as the process of appointing a new Director General continues underlining one of the ongoing deadlocks in the institution.
This means the WTO could be left with nobody at the helm if the global trade body fails to find a replacement before its Director-General Brazilian career diplomat Azevedo steps down later this month.
The stand-off comes with the WTO already mired in hopelessly-stalled trade negotiations and surging trade tensions between the United States and China -- and as the world faces a devastating global economic downturn sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
"We were not able to get a consensus,
"The frustration would come from the inability to obtain consensus on... an administrative job that would last a few months." WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell revealed after yesterday's session
Related: CBN Adjusts Exchange Rate Of The Naira, $1 Now N379
According to WTO guidelines, one of the organisation's four deputy chiefs should be chosen to hold the reins until the next director-general can take over. The deputy DGs are Yonov Frederick Agah of Nigeria (above), Karl Brauner of Germany, Yi Xiaozhun of China and Alan Wolff of the United States. The first three have been in post since 2013, Wolff since 2017.
The WTO's General Council began discussing the issue last week, and most expected a quick decision, but were caught by surprise when the United States turned it into a "political issue" according to a close source saying that it was only willing to accept a compromise in which there would be a month-to-month rotation between Wolff and Brauner until a permanent director-general assumes office.
More details as they unfold.