Brazilian Roberto Azevedo has been appointed as the new Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). “I begin my term in a time when the WTO and the multilateral trading system is at a crossroads”, remarked Azevedo on a message posted on the WTO website. “The economic problems in recent years have contributed to the difficulties we have had as a negotiating forum”, he said.
He stressed that the Doha Round, launched in 2001, has been stalled since the onset of the crisis. “The resulting paralysis has been a source of enormous frustration for trade negotiators and has led some governments to explore other ways to open trade and develop new standards”.
Therefore, Azevedo insisted on the importance of trust to the negotiators in order to achieve outcomes agreed at the multilateral level, which it will be possible if there is political will.
Since the creation of the WTO in 1948, the value of global trade increased from US$59 billion to more than US$18 billion, he said. According to experts, the biggest challenge of the Brazilian new director is to encourage the re-negotiation of the Doha Round, which is going through a very delicate moment.