September 1, 2013
Brazilian diplomat Roberto Azevedo took the helm of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Sunday as the sixth director-general, announced the WTO.
Azevedo was appointed to a four-year term by the organization’s General Council on May 14 after three rounds of selection, replacing Frenchman Pascal Lamy, who stepped down on Aug. 31 after two consecutive terms.
The General Council will hold a special meeting on Sept. 9 to welcome the new Director-General and listen to his inaugural speech, said the WTO, and Azevedo’s first international appearance will be at the G-20 Leaders’ Summit in Saint Petersburg from Sept. 5 to 7.
Azevedo said in his welcome message that the organization and the multilateral trading system were at an important crossroad.
“The choices that the WTO’s 159 members make in the coming months will determine the path we take as we set out together to strengthen and support the multilateral trading system,” he said.
He also stressed the ninth Ministerial Conference, which will be held in Bali, Indonesia from Dec. 3 to 6, a key priority.
“I believe that a deal can be struck despite the short time we have between now and Bali. I shall do everything I can to see that agreement is reached,” he said.
Azevedo, 55, has been Brazil’s permanent representative to the WTO since 2008.
He has worked directly on economic issues for more than 20 years. He oversaw dispute settlements affairs in Brazil, acting as head of delegation in several WTO cases. He participated in the Doha round of negotiations as head of the Brazilian delegation from 2005 to 2006.