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The Director-General of the WTO unexpectedly set a time to resign

General Director of WTO, Mr. Roberto Azevedo (Image: Reuters)

According to Bloomberg news agency, World Trade Organization (WTO) General Director Roberto Azevedo has announced that he will leave his position on August 31, one year earlier than planned. 

According to the 62-year-old official, this is an individual decision and he will continue to work to improve and strengthen the WTO until the day he leaves office. Earlier, Mr. Azevedo had led the WTO since 2013 and is in the second term, expected to end by the end of August 2021.

General Director Azevedo said his resignation was not related to tensions with the US government. Given that the process of selecting a successor is difficult, Mr. Azevedo said he wanted to give WTO members time to select the new General Director.

In a speech on May 14, the WTO's leader also said that the COVID-19 pandemic caused many complicated negotiations to be left open. Global trade weakened after the US-China and US-Europe trade wars, now continues to go down due to the pandemic.

With Mr. Azevedo's resignation, members will select the WTO Director-General to focus on preparing for the 12th Ministerial Meeting, scheduled to take place in 2021.
As a rule, the selection process begins in December 2020 with nominations of candidates. After that, it will take about the first 3 months of 2021 or maybe longer to choose between candidates.

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo is said to be a strong supporter of free trade and international cooperation. Many international officials were surprised by his early resignation.

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