On May, 14 2020, Director-General Azevêdo informed the 164 WTO members that he would be stepping down from his post on 31 August 2020, one year before the expiry of his mandate. Under guidelines agreed by the General Council in December 2002, the General Council Chair is required to begin consultations with members on DG selection as soon as possible and “may establish expedited deadlines as necessary in consultation with Members.” 

Following consultations with members, Amb. Walker announced on May, 20 that a one-month timeframe had been agreed during which members could submit nominations for their candidates. That deadline expired on July, 8. 

In recent weeks, Amb. Walker has been consulting with members on the next stages of the process. Under normal circumstances, the second phase of the process in which the candidates “make themselves known to members” would take three months. But following his discussions with members it has been agreed that the “campaigning” phase will be shortened by one month and will expire on 7 September.

On that date, the third and final phase of the process will begin. Under this phase, Amb. Walker, together with the Chairs of the Dispute Settlement Body (Dacio Castillo of Honduras) and Trade Policy Review Body (Harald Aspelund of Iceland), will consult with all WTO members to assess their preferences and seek to determine which candidate is best placed to attract consensus support. This phase may involve more than one stage of consultations as members seek to narrow the field of candidates. Amb. Walker informed members that, as spelled out in the guidelines, the third Phase would last no more than two months. 

 

Candidates– The eight candidates nominated for the post of WTO Director General are:

The eight candidates met with members on 15-17 July at a meeting of the General Council. Each candidate made a brief presentation to members, including their vision for the WTO, followed by a question-and-answer period. Press conferences and biographies of the candidates are here to be found