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Seade, Blanco and Salinas: 3 Mexico’s candidates for the WTO

Jesús Seade Kuri was appointed candidate for Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), a position previously sought by Herminio Blanco Rebollo and Carlos Salinas de Gortari, also from Mexico.

Currently undersecretary for North America of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), Seade will face, at least so far, two contenders: the Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Egyptian Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh.

Okonjo-Iweala is President of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has immunized 760 million children worldwide and has saved 13 million lives. He is also a member of the Boards of Standard Chartered PLC and Twitter Inc.

WTO
Photo: OMC. Azevêdo at the conference where he announced his early departure as CEO.

Previously, Okonjo-Iweala served twice as Nigeria’s Minister of Finance (2003-2006 and 2011-2015).

During the Uruguay Round, Mamdouh was the main official of the Secretariat in the negotiation and drafting of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and part of the Legal Drafting Group for the General Agreement of the WTO.

On June 8, 2020, Mexico presented that candidacy, in succession of the current Director General, Roberto Azevêdo, who has announced that he will leave office on August 31, 2020.

WTO and nominations

On March 1, 1995, former President Salinas de Gortari announced his intention to withdraw his application to head the WTO. He did not clarify the reasons, but his announcement was made a day after the arrest of his brother, Raúl Salinas, who was accused of being the mastermind of the murder of José Francisco Ruíz Massieu, a Mexican politician.

For his part, Blanco was head of the negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and responsible for the negotiations of the Free Trade Agreement between Mexico and the European Union, in addition to negotiating other openings of the Mexican economy with 10 Latin American countries and with Israel.

Blanco was then questioned about his inactivity at the WTO headquarters, as he was no longer a public official in the previous years.

In turn, Azevedo had been Brazil’s permanent representative to the WTO since 2008. When he nominated him, his country stated that it interests him and can unlock the multilateral negotiations of the body. However, the recent protectionist measures of the Brazilian government and the constant negotiating failures of his country weighed against him.

 

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