WASHINGTON - U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman today praised Pascal Lamy, who has been recommended to be the next Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Formal action on Mr. Lamy's selection will take place at the May 26 meeting of the General Council.
"Pascal's experience and prominence in international trade will enable him to be a strong public advocate for the WTO as an institution and for open markets. His commitment and leadership will be essential to all our efforts for a successful Hong Kong Ministerial in December and for concluding an ambitious and far-reaching result to the global trade talks next year," said Portman. "As the former EU Trade Commissioner, he knows intimately the terrain of the negotiations. I believe he'll rise to the challenge of serving as the neutral leader and advocate of ambition in the ongoing Doha trade round."
The selection process was conducted by General Council Chairperson Amina Mohamed, Kenya's Representative to the WTO, Canadian Ambassador Donald Stephenson and Ambassador Eirik Glenne of Norway.
"I want to commend Ambassador Mohamed and her colleagues for the way in which they led the selection process. They ensured that the process was fair, inclusive and conducted with the utmost integrity," said Ambassador Portman. "This bodes well for the work ahead of us and yet a further signal of Members' ability to work together and forge consensus as we together tackle the more difficult issues in the negotiations, work on outstanding issues, such as accession of new partners into the WTO, and ensure enforcement of WTO Agreements."
Lamy's selection came after a rigorous selection process that narrowed the selection from four candidates to two - with the final choice between former EU Commissioner Pascal Lamy and Uruguay's former Ambassador to the WTO and former Chairman of the WTO General Council, Ambassador Carlos Perez del Castillo. The Director General serves for a term of 4 years, which begins on September 1st.
"I want to thank all the candidates - including Ambassador Perez del Castillo, who did an outstanding job when he served as Chair of the General Council, Minister Cuttaree of Mauritius, and Ambassador Seixas Corea of Brazil for their help in ensuring that the selection process went so smoothly and for their abiding commitment to the WTO," added Portman. "I had the opportunity to meet with both Pascal and Carlos in the final round of the process. Both are committed to our work in the WTO to open markets and expand trade as a means of ensuring global growth and combating poverty. I know that Carlos will continue to be a contributor to the WTO system and wish him well."