WTO Top Candidate to focus on Africa

WTO-Top-Candidate-to-focus-on-Africa1Doha,April,16:One of people seeking election as World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director General, Mexico’s Dr Herminio Blanco, has promised to end the impasse over the Doha Round talks and ensure Africa benefits more from multilateral trade systems.

He made the pledge at a press conference held in Dar es Salaam on Friday, saying there was urgent need for African countries to get a much better from multilateral trade than now obtains.

Six men and three women have been nominated by their respective governments for the post, with the winner assuming office upon the expiration of French incumbent Pascal Lamy’s tenure on August 31.

The other contestants include Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen of Ghana, Tim Groser (New Zealand), Ahmad Thougan Hindawi (Jordan), Taeho Bark (Republic of Korea) and Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo (Brazil).

The women contestants are Anabel González of Costa Rica, Elka Pangestu (Indonesia) and Amina C. Mohamed (Kenya).

Speaking to the members of Press in Dar es Salaam on Friday, Dr Blanco was accompanied at the press conference by Mexico’s consul in Tanzania, Reza Saboor. Also at the event was Luis Campunzano, who doubles as Mexico’s Ambassador to East African countries, Eritrea and Seychelles and the South American country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Environment Programme and UN-Habitat.

“There is a deficit in deliverables for the world’s weakest countries, in particular the least developed, and hence the need for trade liberalisation for the goods and services they produce,” said Dr Blanco, a former Trade and Industry minister in Mexico.

He said African countries are easily among the main losers in the deadlock over the Doha Round negotiations “in which the continent’s development is not that much of a priority”.

“If elected WTO Director General, I will give the highest priority to restarting in earnest the negotiations and reach a successful conclusion of Doha,” he noted, adding that the only way for WTO to remain a credible and relevant body was to deliver on the Doha Development Agenda.

He stressed that achieving that goal demanded that all countries contribute as much as possible to the realisation of the dream, “but those who have benefited more from the system coming up with some extra contribution”.

“WTO has succeeded in promoting trade as a dynamic engine of economic growth and development in the respective member countries alongside helping in easing protectionist pressure arising from the global financial crisis,” said Dr Blanco.

“Although a substantial component of this growth potential is dependent on trade, much is still needed for trade to become really a powerful tool for development in the region,” he noted, adding that Africa had recorded enhanced economic growth in recent years.

While in Tanzania, Dr Blanco had talks with a number of senior government officials including ministers currently attending the National Assembly’s annual Budget meeting in Dodoma.

He said he used the talks to reaffirm “my solid determination to responsibly promote my work agenda beginning September 1, 2013 – should I be chosen as the new Director General of the WTO – by helping make the agency grow into a stronger and more relevant organisation”.

The countdown to the naming of a new DG for WTO began late last year and will conclude at a meeting of the General Council to be called not later than May 31.

Dr Blanco submitted his candidature at a meeting of the WTO General Council on January 30, 2013 before representatives of all the 157 member countries of the organisation and as well as of observer countries.

The Mexican contestant boasts 27 years of experience in international trade and has advised various national and local governments, corporations and international organisations on trade policy and international economic strategic matters.He is founder and president of the only international trade service in Latin America that provides online day-by-day analyses of governmental trade measures affecting corporations doing business in the region.He is also a member of the board of directors of several companies whose mission is to finance international trade in Latin America.

 

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