World Trade Organization (WTO) members have established a month-long period in which candidates seeking to succeed Roberto Azevêdo as director-general may submit their nomination bids.
General Council chair David Walker of New Zealand informed members on May 20 the appointment process for the next DG would formally commence on June 8 with nominations accepted from that date until July 8. Walker had communicated to members on May 18 that he would start the process on May 25.
However, the chair received on May 20 a specific objection and a request to delay the process by two weeks. He was not informed of any other reservations so the opening date for nominations was reset for June 8.
On May 14, Azevêdo informed members at an informal heads of delegation meeting that he intended to step down on August 31, 2020, a year before his term was to have expired. Walker announced at that same meeting that he would immediately begin consulting with members on an expedited process under the DG appointment guidelines agreed by the General Council in 2002 (WT/L/509).
Under the guidelines, nominations can only be submitted by WTO members and only on behalf of “their own nationals”. The chair would inform WTO members of nominations as soon as they are received. After July 8, Walker would issue to members a consolidated list of all candidates. Shortly after the nomination period has closed, candidates would be invited to meet with members at a special meeting, present their views and take questions from members.