Mexico and Brazil Vie For Top Spot At Struggling WTO


By Andrew O'Reilly

AS/COA’s Eric Farnsworth comments on Herminio Blanco, Mexico’s candidate to the World Trade Organization (WTO), as he races against potential frontrunner Roberto Azevêdo from Brazil.

The World Trade Organization sits in a tight bind as it looks for a new leader to revive the long dormant Doha round of talks on international trade and maintain global relevance in the face of a surge in regional trade groups.

With only five candidates left in running, two of them hail from Latin America’s largest economies: Roberto Azevêdo of Brazil – deemed by some insiders to be the frontrunner – and Mexico’s Herminio Blanco, a seasoned trade minister who was part of the negotiations that led to the creation of the WTO.

Along with the two Latin American candidates, South Korea’s trade minister Taeho Bark, New Zealand’s Tim Groser and Mari Pangestu of Indonesia are all vying to replace outgoing WTO director general Pascal Lamy, whose term ends in August.

Experts argue that whoever takes the helm of the global trade organization will have to swing the tide away from nations forming their own trade agreements and bring in some reforms that would refresh the group….

“Hermino has some good experience,” said Eric Farnsworth, the vice president of the Council of the Americas and Americas Society. “And Mexico as a country has made a practice of expanding its trade beyond North America….”

“Brazil has a very interesting desire in terms of global trade,” Farnsworth said. “Brazil is more protectionist and more aggressive when it comes to dispute resolution….”

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