May 9, 2013
Mexico congratulated Brazilian diplomat Roberto Azevedo for his victory in the race to lead the World Trade Organization, confirming the defeat of its candidate, former Mexican trade chief Herminio Blanco. Mexico’s economy ministry said that, according to the three ambassadors in charge of leading the election process, Azevedo was “the candidate favored by the WTO membership” and that Blanco called him to “express his full support in his new post.”
“Mexico congratulates Ambassador Roberto Azevedo for his election,” the ministry said in a statement. Diplomats said earlier that Azevedo, Brazil’s ambassador to the 159-nation organization, narrowly defeated Blanco in the final round of voting in the closed-door contest. Seven other candidates had been eliminated in earlier rounds.
May 7, 2013
Latin America’s two largest nations are vying for economic and diplomatic clout as their candidates face off as finalists to head the World Trade Organization. The WTO is scheduled to name by May 8 the first director- general from Latin America in its 18-year history. It will choose between Roberto Azevedo, Brazil (BZGDGDP4)’s representative to the Geneva-based group, and Herminio Blanco, a former Mexico trade minister who led the nation’s negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. and Canada. The winner will replace the outgoing WTO chief, France’s Pascal Lamy, in September.
The race is a contest for diplomatic prowess as Mexico draws on its faster growth and more open economy to fortify its candidate, said Michael Shifter, president of Inter-American Dialogue in Washington. Analysts polled by Bloomberg forecast Mexico will outgrow its southern peer for the third straight year in 2013, reversing a trend that allowed Brazil to pull ahead as the region’s largest market in 2005. “There’s rivalry and competition there,” Shifter said by telephone from Washington. “Mexico is feeling very confident. As they seek to gain more international clout, Brazil is on their mind.”
April 26, 2013
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.
April 24, 2013
The Wall Street Journal, 4/24/13
The world’s most important trade body needs a major shake-up in leadership to revive the long-dormant Doha round of global trade talks or else it will become irrelevant among newer, fleeter free-trade agreements, said Herminio Blanco, one of the candidates to take over the World Trade Organization.
Mr. Blanco, who was Mexico’s chief negotiator to create the landmark North American Free Trade Agreement and represented Mexico in the last successful global trade round that created the WTO two decades ago, told The Wall Street Journal in a recent interview that the WTO risked becoming a simple referee of its increasingly outdated rules rather than leading global trade.