Statement by the Chair of the General Council, 08 May 2013

Good afternoon. I welcome you to this informal meeting of Heads of Delegation and thank you once again for attending the meeting at short notice.

The purpose of this meeting is to allow me, assisted by the Facilitators — the Chair of the Dispute Settlement Body, Amb. Fried, and the Chair of the Trade Policy Review Body, Amb. Reiter — to report to the membership on the outcome of the third and final round of consultations concerning the selection of the next Director-General. This report is in accordance with the Procedures for the Appointment of Directors-General agreed in December 2002, contained in document WT/L/509, and is also in line with our commitment to transparency, inclusiveness and full participation, as we set out in the beginning of this final step of the process, reflected in document JOB/GC/39. Let me highlight that paragraph 19 of the Procedures provides that “at the end of the final stage of the consultative process, the Chair, with the support of the facilitators, shall submit the name of the candidate most likely to attract consensus and recommend his or her appointment by the General Council”.

Before I report on the outcome of this third round of consultations, I wish to pay tribute to all nine candidates in this process and the Members who nominated them. We have been very fortunate to have had such outstanding candidates for this important position. Their vast experience and excellent qualifications are greatly valued and respected by Members. They all have, throughout this process, conducted themselves in a dignified manner and demonstrated their high regard for and commitment to the multilateral trading system.

With regard to the organization of work for this third round of consultations, it followed closely that of the first two rounds. The Facilitators and I conducted the consultations from 1 to 7 May. Each Member, whether Geneva-based or non-resident, was asked the same precise question, i.e. “What is your preference?”. I am pleased to inform you that all 159 Members came forward to express their preferences.

As set out in paragraph 18 of the 2002 Procedures, allow me now to report on the outcome of this third round of consultations.

First, the results that flowed from our consultations in this round are clear and unambiguous.

Second, these results were dictated by your expressions of preferences, and our assessment has been guided strictly by the elements set out in paragraph 17 of the 2002 Procedures. In this respect, I would refer delegations to my statement of 12 April in JOB/GC/40.

Third, in line with paragraph 6 of the 2002 Procedures, our role has always been “to encourage and facilitate the building of consensus among Members, and assist them in moving from the initial field of candidates to a final decision on appointment”.

Fourth, Members recognised that both candidates in this round are highly qualified individuals, equipped to lead this organization and, thus, both are held in very high respect.

Fifth, in this round, as in the previous rounds, no negative preference was expressed by any Member.

Sixth, the results of your preferences were communicated yesterday to the Members whose candidates were on the revised slate of names.

On the basis of all of the above, and in keeping with the Procedures, our assessment of the preferences provided to us by you during this third round of consultations is that the candidate from Brazil, Mr. Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo is the candidate most likely of the two to attract consensus, on the following basis:

  • Mr. Azevêdo carried the largest support by Members in the final round and has consistently done so in each round; and,
  • he enjoyed support from Members from all levels of development and from all geographic regions and has done so throughout the process.

I therefore intend to convene a special meeting of the General Council on Tuesday 14 May 2013 at 10 a.m., where the sole item on the agenda will be the appointment of the next Director-General of the WTO and I trust that this is acceptable to delegations. At that meeting, and in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 19 of the 2002 Procedures, I, supported by the Facilitators, shall submit the name of Mr. Azevêdo as the candidate most likely to attract consensus and recommend his appointment by the General Council as the next Director-General of the WTO for a period of 4 years starting 1 September 2013.

I will ask the Secretariat to issue the convening Airgram for this special meeting this afternoon.

Before I conclude, the Facilitators and I also wish to most sincerely thank all Members for participating in the consultation process with an exceptionally high level of engagement and a constructive spirit.  We are particularly grateful that all Members, including all the non-resident delegations, came forward to express their preferences in the course of the three rounds. All delegations consulted were fully aware of the rules and dynamics of the process and participated effectively in this endeavour. No Member, at any point of this process, expressed a negative preference for any of the candidates.  We have been impressed by Members’ constructive approach, which has greatly facilitated this process. This very constructive approach will be equally important as Members move to a final decision on appointment at the General Council on 14 May.

Finally, I, together with the Facilitators, express our appreciation for the excellent service provided by the Council and TNC Division.  We also thank the WTO’s translation and documentation staff for ensuring that the flow of written information from us to the Members was timely and efficient.

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