Appointment of the next Director-General

Statement by Chairman Shotaro Oshima (Japan), WTO General Council meeting, 20 October 2004.

The Chairman recalled for the information of Members that, under the Procedures for the Appointment of Directors-General adopted by the General Council in December 2002 (WT/L/509), the process for the appointment of Directors-General had to be started nine months prior to the expiry of the term of the incumbent Director-General, with a notification from the Chair to the General Council. In the present case, since the term of office of the current Director-General, Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, would end on 31 August 2005, the appointment process would begin on 1 December 2004. In line with the agreed procedures, he would formally notify the opening of the process in a communication to all Members at that time.

He also recalled some of the time-lines for the appointment process as set out in the Procedures of December 2002. First, he noted that Members would have one month after the start of the appointment process to nominate candidates, in other words, until 31 December in the present case. Second, the candidates nominated would then have three months to make themselves known to Members and to engage in discussions on the pertinent issues facing the organization, i.e. until 31 March.

Also, as early as possible after the close of the nomination process, candidates would have to be invited to meet with Members at a formal General Council meeting. Third, the remaining two months prior to the conclusion of this process would be devoted to selecting and appointing one of the candidates, and the process would conclude with a General Council meeting convened not later than three months prior to the expiry of the incumbent's term, at which a decision to appoint a new Director-General had to be taken. In other words, a decision on the appointment of a new Director-General had to be taken not later than 31 May 2005. He recalled that full details of the procedures were set out in document WT/L/509.