At a meeting of the General Council on 28 February, World Trade Organization members agreed by consensus to appoint Roberto Azevêdo for a second four-year term as Director-General. Mr Azevêdo, whose second term will begin on 1 September 2017, earlier outlined his vision for the future and took questions from the membership on challenges facing the organization.
Director-General Azevêdo confirmed his willingness to serve a second term in the role in a letter to WTO members on 3 November 2016 at the outset of the selection process. He was the only candidate nominated for the post when the process closed on 31 December 2016.
In thanking members for their support, DG Azevêdo said he believed the WTO “is on the right path. We have achieved a great deal over the last few years. The WTO is stronger today than it was in 2013.”
“But we can do much more — particularly for the smaller players and those who feel cut off from the economic benefits of trade. We must build a more inclusive trading system. I look forward to working with you all to that end.”
DG Azevêdo also encouraged members to speak up for the WTO. “I ask you to stand up and make the case for the value that you see in trade and the trading system. This organization is here for a reason — to support economic development, growth and job creation, but also to support peace, cooperation and solidarity among nations.
“I can’t think of a more worthy, more worthwhile goal than that.”
On 27 February, DG Azevêdo outlined for members the successes that the membership achieved during his first term and his vision for the next four years. His presentation is available here.
DG Azevêdo also took questions from the membership regarding the management of the WTO, how to advance negotiations and ensure a successful outcome at the organization’s upcoming 11th Ministerial Conference in December 2017, the challenges currently facing the multilateral trading system, and other issues of interest to members.