Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Jesús Seade is seeking to become the next director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Seade, Mexico’s chief negotiator at the tail end of the trilateral talks that led to the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement, is one of four candidates who have been nominated so far to be the successor to Brazilian Roberto Azevêdo, who announced he would leave his post a year early on August 31 due to personal reasons.
The other current candidates are Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria, Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh of Egypt and Tudor Ulianovschi of Moldova. More candidates, including at least one European, are expected to be nominated before the closing date of July 8.
Seade was nominated for the WTO role by President López Obrador, who described the nominee as “straightforward” and “honest” in a video posted to social media.
“He’s a supporter of understanding between countries for facilitating trade relations,” López Obrador said.
The Foreign Ministry (SRE) said in a statement that Seade “has an extensive understanding of the economies and trade dynamics in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America, and well-established relationships with the leading actors in world trade.
It added that “his long experience in the most important international economic organizations —including the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB) and the World Trade Organization itself — is a proven track record of his abilities within these key multilateral trade institutions.”
“The nomination of Deputy Secretary Seade to the post of WTO director-general by the government of Mexico comes in recognition of his experience and abilities but, above all, is a sign of the country’s commitment to the multilateral order,” the SRE said.
“Mexico is nominating a strong candidate with the experience and ability to represent the best global interests in free trade at a key moment for protecting and promoting multilateralism and international cooperation.”
However, Seade’s chances of being appointed are hindered by two factors, the news agency EFE reported.
One is that he is from Latin America, the same region as the incumbent director-general, and the WTO prefers to rotate its leadership between continents.
The second factor that could harm Seade’s chances is that, like Azevêdo, he is from a developing country. A WTO leader from a developing country is usually succeeded by one from a developed country.
If a new director-general hasn’t been chosen to head up the intergovernmental organization by the end of August, one of the four deputy directors-general will step into the role on a temporary basis.
WTO chiefs are elected to four-year terms but can serve a second term of the same length.