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AFJ & Assosiates
AFJ & Associates
January 28, 2013
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Commentary on WTO Director-General Candidacy

 

Washington, D.C.  January 28, 2013.  AFJ Vice-President Jason Hafemeister commented on the candidacy of Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo for the next Director General of the World Trade Organization in the Latin American Advisor.

Jason Hafemeister, vice president of Allen F. Johnson and Associates in Washington: "Roberto Azevêdo is smart, hard-working and clever and has experience in WTO litigation and negotiations— all useful attributes for the next WTO director-general. To get the job and be effective in the Doha negotiations, he will need to convince WTO members that he can put Brazil's leadership role in the G-20 behind him and get the developing countries to offer up real market access. The lack of market access offers from developing countries has been the biggest obstacle to getting an agreement. It soured the United States, European Union and Cairns Group countries on the Doha process. Brazil brokered the formation of the G-20, including the incongruous alliance with agricultural protectionists like India and China, and has remained its main spokesman and organizer. Until India and China come along on market access, talks will remained stalled. If Azevêdo can separate himself from Brazil's diplomatic maneuvering with the G-20 and instead bring these countries to the table, progress is possible. The list of candidates for the WTO director-general job is strong and includes high-profile Trade Ministers Anabel González of Costa Rica and Tim Grosser of New Zealand, both of whom have strong negotiating resumes. The stakes are high for the region. Latin America has competitive agricultural exporters, including Brazil, that stand to gain from a new market opening deal in the WTO. Since a WTO deal is predicated on all countries opening their markets, Latin American countries will be some of the primary beneficiaries. Having a director-general who understands the export interests of the region can be a real boost to the region."