The next head of the World Trade Organization will be either Mexico’s Herminio Blanco or Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo, guaranteeing a Latin American nation will hold the top job at the global trade body for the first time. Blanco and Azevedo emerged as the only candidates remaining after the second of three rounds of competition to succeed Pascal Lamy on Sept 1, a diplomatic source said on Thursday.
The winner, who will emerge by the end of May, faces a huge challenge of restoring confidence in the WTO’s ability to negotiate a global trade deal. The job confers little executive power, forcing the holder to rely on diplomacy, wit and persuasion. Azevedo is Brazil’s ambassador to the WTO and Blanco is a veteran trade negotiator who led Mexico in the NAFTA free trade talks.