Uruguay's Carlos Pérez del Castillo urged European Union legislators yesterday to back him for the job of director general of the World Trade Organization, saying the post should go to a person from a developing country.
Pérez del Castillo said that despite the candidacy of France's Pascal Lamy, EU governments should back him because he had the right qualifications and backing from ??a majority'' of Latin American countries.
??My past experience would meet the profile of this job,'' said Pérez del Castillo, Uruguay's ambassador to the WTO and a former chairman of the WTO's ruling general council. ??I have been very closely involved in development issues,'' he said. ??I come from a small developing country so development has always been fundamental to me.''
He said the next WTO chief should be able to guide current world trade talks to get a deal that ??reflects the interests of all members,'' implying that former EU Trade Commissioner Lamy would not do so.
He added that the other two candidates ? Jaya Krishna Cuttaree, the foreign affairs and trade minister of Mauritius, and Luiz Felipe de Seixas Correa, Brazil's ambassador to the WTO ? did not have broad enough backing.
Pérez del Castillo said he would ensure poorer countries get more flexibility in delaying implementation of trade rules, which he said often did not take into account the needs of developing economies. Pérez del Castillo said last November the top job should go to either a Latin American or an African.
He said neither continent had been given a chance since the creation of the WTO a decade ago ? or since its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, began in 1948.
He said he was in favor of ensuring a drop in tariffs and duties in all areas of trade, leaving no room for protected sectors like services or agriculture, which have been sensitive points of contention in the current trade round.
??If we agree that trade liberalization is a good thing, I don't think we can exclude any sectors,'' Pérez del Castillo said after meeting members of the European Parliament. Pérez del Castillo was the latest WTO candidate to travel to Brussels, lobbying for support from EU officials ahead of the expected decision by the WTO's 148 member governments in May.
The 25-nation EU accounts for around 42 percent of world trade, making it the most powerful trade bloc at the WTO.
One of the key tasks of the new WTO chief will be to spur efforts to finalize a far-reaching global trade liberalization accord by 2006.
Current Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi of Thailand ends his term Aug. 31. The race to succeed him formally started in January, with all candidates launching their campaigns.