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Dysfunction Deepens at the WTO

  • U.S. backs an American acting chief who others oppose
  • Impasse may result in a leaderless WTO at a critical moment
The empty seat of the World Trade Organization director-general prior to a general council in Geneva. 

The empty seat of the World Trade Organization director-general prior to a general council in Geneva. 

Photographer: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

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Trade officials in Geneva on Friday failed to select an acting leader of the World Trade Organization to take over when current Director-General Roberto Azevedo steps down on Aug. 31.

WTO delegates couldn’t broker a consensus agreement this week after the U.S. demanded that an American, Alan Wolff, become interim director-general instead of Karl Brauner of Germany.