The World Trade Organization (WTO) members have given a month window to candidates seeking to become the next Director-General of the body to submit their nominations bids. This was disclosed in a statement issued by WTO
This is contrary to the earlier position held by Egypt that member states of the African Union (AU) had been required to nominate candidates for the position by November 30, 2019, while opposing the sudden nomination of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as DG for WTO by Nigeria.
The General Council Chair, David Walker of New Zealand informed members on May 20, that the appointment process for the next Director-General would formally commence today June 8, 2020 with the process lasting until July 8.
Ambassador Walker had earlier communicated to members on May 18 that in the absence of any objections, he would start the process on May 25. However, the Chair received a specific objection on May 20 and a request to delay the process by two weeks and so it was reset for June 8.
It would be recalled that the outgoing Director-General of WTO, Roberto Azevedo, had on May 14 informed members at an informal heads of delegation meeting that he intended to step down on August 31, 2020, a year before his term was to expire.
Meanwhile, Egypt had kicked against the nomination of the former Finance minister, Okonjo-Iweala, as the Director-General of WTO because it claimed it was out of time. It argued that it was not in conformity with the executive council decision as it was after the November 30, 2019 deadline for nomination by the AU.
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 also released the procedures under which members must formally submit the nominations of their candidates.