Canada’s Fast Says Next WTO Head Must Bridge Rich-Poor Disparity

Canada trade minister Ed Fast said the next head of the World Trade Organization should be able to bridge differences between poor and rich nations.

The new head will need to re-establish the organization’s credibility as an institution that can advance multilateral trade efforts at a time when countries have been pursuing regional trade agreements, Fast said.

“Canada will support the selection of a candidate who has a demonstrated ability to bridge the very difficult gaps between developed, developing and least-developed countries in the pursuit of successful multilateral trade outcomes,” Fast said in a statement that outlines what he believes should be the organization’s agenda. He said the selection process should be “merit-based.”

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy’s term expires Aug. 31 and the organization’s General Council is expected to complete the selection process no later than May 31, according to the organization’s website.

Fast has met with seven of the contenders, which include candidates from South Korea, Mexico, Jordan, Costa Rica, Brazil, Ghana, Indonesia and New Zealand, according to the minister’s office. The Geneva-based trade arbiter has had only one leader from a developing country since it was created in 1995.

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