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WTO Establishes Nomination Window For DG Selection

WTO members have established a month-long period in which candidates seeking to succeed Roberto Azevêdo as Director-General may submit their nomination bids. General Council Chair David Walker of New Zealand informed members on 20 May the appointment process for the next Director-General would formally commence on 8 June with nominations accepted from that date until 8 July.

Amb Walker had communicated to members on 18 May that absent any objections he would start the process on 25 May. However, the Chair received on 20 May a specific objection and a request to delay the process by two weeks. He was not informed of any other reservations so the opening date for nominations was reset for 8 June.

On 14 May Director-General Azevêdo informed members at an informal Heads of Delegation meeting that he intended to step down on 31 August 2020, a year before his term was to have expired. General Council Chair Walker announced at that same meeting that he would immediately begin consulting with members on an expedited process under the DG appointment guidelines agreed by the General Council in 2002 (WT/L/509).

Under the guidelines, nominations can only be submitted by WTO members and only on behalf of “their own nationals”. The Chair will inform WTO members of nominations as soon as they are received. After 8 July, Chair Walker will issue to members a consolidated list of all candidates. Shortly after the nomination period has closed, candidates will be invited to meet with members at a special General Council meeting, present their views and take questions from the membership.

The Chair released as well the procedures under which members must formally submit the nominations of their candidates.

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