The Chilean ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Mario Matus, has been chosen to head the organization's Dispute Settlement Body. Matus will replace Australian representative Bruce Gosper, who will preside over the WTO policy-making General Council for the next 12 months.
The WTO Dispute Settlement Body is in charge of solving million-dollar trade conflicts. Heading the Dispute Settlement Body is considered to be just one step prior to being selected as chairman for the General Council. Matus has just finished leading the WTO's working group on the admission of Ukraine to the organization, admission which demanded 14 years of negotiations. Traditionally, the president of the Dispute Settlement Body alternates between developed and developing countries. Within the developing countries, the position is rotated among different continents. This year is Latin America and the Caribbean's turn to occupy the post. Mr. Matus is a solicitor who specialized in trade affairs in Oxford, England. He has been involved in Chile's free trade negotiating team which has signed agreements with the main trading blocks and countries of the world. Bruce Gosper is currently Australia's ambassador to the WTO. Mr Gosper takes the chair in a pivotal time for the WTO, which may see a new deal further open up world trade under the Doha agreement. The coming year may also see Russia join the 151 member organization. "The agenda that member countries have proposed is to involve all necessary resources to conclude this year a world agreement on agriculture and services", announced ambassador Gosper.