Brazil’s Azevedo becomes first Latin American to head WTO

GENEVA,  (Reuters) – Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo has won the race to become the next head of the World Trade Organization, the first candidate from the BRICS club of emerging economies to take the job.

The career trade diplomat now faces a huge challenge to reinvigorate the global body, which has failed to wrap up the Doha trade liberalisation talks after years of stalemate and risks becoming irrelevant without a breakthrough.

Azevedo beat Mexico’s Herminio Blanco, widely seen as the favoured choice of the United States, in the final round of the contest to succeed France’s Pascal Lamy, who steps down on Aug. 31. The result of the selection process was meant to be secret until a formal announcement on Wednesday, but the Brazilian government confirmed on Tuesday that Azevedo, 55, won by a wide margin.

Azevedo will become the first Latin American and the first representative of a BRICS nation to head the Geneva-based trade body since its creation in 1995, a sign of the rising clout of emerging economies as developed countries struggle to recover from the 2008 financial crisis.

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