Release Date: May 08, 2013Contact: 888-249-NEWS
U.S. Chamber’s Donohue Welcomes Azevêdo as New Head of WTO
Praises His Qualifications and Calls Him Strong Choice to Revitalize Global Rules-Based Trading System
WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue welcomed the selection today of Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo of Brazil as the next Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), a position he will assume on September 1.
“The Chamber congratulates Roberto Azevêdo on his selection to lead the WTO and pledges to help him advance the organization’s key role as a forum for market-opening trade negotiations,” said Donohue. “We need the WTO more than ever. The organization is at a crossroads. December’s Ministerial Conference in Bali must provide real deliverables, particularly an agreement on trade facilitation. While success will ultimately depend on the WTO’s Member states, incoming Director-General Azevêdo has the skills, knowledge, and Geneva-based experience that will be essential to broker a deal. The Chamber has increased its engagement in Geneva this year and we look forward to working with him.”
“We’d also like to thank Pascal Lamy, a true public servant who helped keep protectionism in check in the face of the worst global economic crisis in a generation,” Donohue added. “He helped bring new members such as Russia into the WTO and oversaw an expansion of the important Government Procurement Agreement. The trade community owes him a debt of gratitude for his efforts and wishes him the very best.”
The WTO is undertaking negotiations to expand the product coverage of the Information Technology Agreement, which has helped deliver a cornucopia of technology products to the world. Extending free trade to the hundreds of new tech products invented since the ITA was first negotiated in 1996 will multiply its benefits.
The Chamber also strongly supports the negotiations for a new Trade in Services Agreement underway in Geneva among nearly 50 countries, and hopes that Ambassador Azevêdo will continue the WTO’s practice of supporting such agreements to open markets among a subset of Member states and consider how to eventually bring them within the organization’s body of rules.
Together with its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the WTO has fostered a 40-fold increase in world trade since the Second World War. Global trade topped $22 trillion last year, and the worldwide exchange of goods and services has allowed incomes to rise in country after country.
The U.S. Chamber is the world’s largest business federation, representing the interests of more than three million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. Its International Affairs division includes more than 50 regional and policy experts and 23 country-specific business councils and initiatives. It also works closely with 116 American Chambers of Commerce abroad.