France puts forward ex-EU trade chief to head WTO

13th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 13 (AFP) - France has officially proposed former EU trade commissioner Pascal Lamy to be director general of the World Trade Organisation, Lamy said Monday.

PARIS, Dec 13 (AFP) - France has officially proposed former EU trade commissioner Pascal Lamy to be director general of the World Trade Organisation, Lamy said Monday.

The Geneva-based WTO confirmed the statement, made by Lamy on France's Radio Classique.

The names of candidates for the top WTO job may be put forward until the end of this month.

The 148 WTO countries are to agree on their choice for a new director general by the end of May 2005 at the latest.

The mandate of current Director General Supachai Panitchpakdi ends on August 31.

On Thursday the 25 member countries of the European Union gave unanimous backing to Lamy as their candidate to head the WTO.

Lamy, a 57-year-old Frenchman, handed over the EU trade portfolio to Peter Mandelson in November.

"We received his candidature Friday evening," a WTO spokesman said.

He is the fourth candidate to line up for the job, after Brazil's current ambassador to the WTO, Felipe de Seixas Correa, the foreign minister of Mauritius, Jayen Cuttaree, and Uruguay's former trade ambassador Carlos Perez del Castillo.

The 148 member states have agreed to make their choice by consensus, in an attempt to avoid the split that opened up during the last leadership race in 1999.

At the time, governments were unable to choose between Supachai, a former Thai minister, or former New Zealand prime minister Mike Moore.

The race to succeed Supachai Panitchpakdi coincides with ongoing talks on a new round of trade liberalisation negotiation launched in Doha, Qatar three years ago.

Some diplomats have indicated they favour a developing country candidate, in keeping with the current thrust of trade talks which are aimed at helping poorer countries reap benefits from free trade.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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