July 29, 2020 / 4:36 PM / 14 days ago

WTO set to skip naming acting chief after U.S. push caused deadlock

WASHINGTON/GENEVA, July 29 (Reuters) - World Trade Organization members are likely to refrain from appointing an interim director general to succeed Roberto Azevedo when he steps down at the end of August, two sources following the process said on Wednesday, after Washington’s insistence on a U.S. candidate caused a deadlock.

Under the new proposal, instead of appointing one of four deputy directors to serve as interim chief until Azevedo’s replacement is appointed later this year, those officials from the United States, China, Germany and Nigeria would continue their current responsibilities.

“The U.S. is insisting on an American, but China and Europe put the brakes on that,” said a former WTO official familiar with the current process.

A decision to finalise the interim arrangement could come as early as this week when WTO members are expected to meet. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Emma Farge; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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