- Jesús Seade, Under Secretary for North America, Ministry Foreign Affairs of Mexico
- Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Council of the Americas
A candidate for Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ambassador Jesús Seade Kuri offered wide-ranging comments on global trade at the 2020 Washington Conference on the Americas. He was introduced by COA's Eric Farnsworth and a video message from former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Alec Watson.
Seade, who served as a chief negotiator for Mexico for the updated North American trade agreement that went into effect July 1, spoke of the danger to the United States, China, and other countries if the WTO is allowed to become irrelevant. He argued that the WTO should be playing an important role in educating the global public about the benefits of trade, and that the new director general must have the expertise, relationships, and negotiating skills to play the role of honest broker among countries, build trust, and coordinate efforts that lead to real results in the trade arena, including in fields such as digital trade. Seade also stressed the need for more attention to private sector interests, both in terms of encouraging multilateral companies to expand trade and opening space for small- and medium-sized enterprises to participate in global trade.