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Mike Moore Confirmed As WTO Head

The World Trade Organisation has officially confirmed Mike Moore as its director-general under a power-sharing scheme with Thailand's deputy prime minister, Supachai Panitchpakdi.

The WTO's general council ended the long-running stand off by approving Mr Moore heading the WTO for three years, after which he will then be replaced by Mr Supachai.

The pair will become the first non-Europeans to head the organization. The WTO is intended to set the guidelines for world trade, resolves disputes and lower tariffs and investment barriers. The director-general has a staff of 500 and a budget of US$76 million.

The compromise was promoted by Bangladesh and Australia and seized upon by other countries as the split in the WTO has been seen as a distraction, if not damaging, to the next round of the world trade talks. These are due to start in Seattle in November.

Mr Moore will not only have the task of setting the agenda for the talks but a host of growing trade disputes. Last week, tension between the the U.S. and Europe saw the US impose $117 million in sanctions on EU products in retaliation for a ban on beef from hormone-fed cattle.

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