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WTO Job Share Agreement Reached

Mike Moore is to head the World Trade Organisation for the next three years under a compromise deal agreed by an informal meeting of the WTO’s council.

The deal would see former New Zealand prime minister Mike Moore and Thai Vice Premier Supachai Panitchpakdi share the job, with Mr Moore serving as Director-General for the next three years, and Mr Supachai then succeeding him for another three years.

The agreement is not yet a formal resolution and the WTO's 134 member General Council will meet later in the week to formally approve the plan.

There is still no agreement on how many deputies will be appointed to assist the Director-General, with some calling for five deputies with one representing each region, but others saying two or three would be enough. Also under the agreement neither man would be eligible for reappointment, nor could his term of office be extended.

The WTO had been deadlocked over the selection of its next leader to replace Renato Ruggiero, who left in April.

The selection row was particularly bitter, with each side accusing the other of dirty tricks, and neither side prepared to drop its candidate despite the deadlock. Many fear that the delay may have damaged preparations for the next round of the world trade talks, due to start in Seattle in November.

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