The World Trade Organization (WTO) chief stated Thursday he’ll step down on August 31, a yr earlier than his time period ends, insisting an early change of management would assist the physique face “new post-COVID realities.”
“This is a call that I don’t take frivolously,” Roberto Azevedo informed member state representatives, based on a written model of his speech.
“It is a private resolution, a household resolution,” he burdened, including, “It will not be health-related… nor am I pursuing any political alternatives.”
Azevedo’s early departure would come at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the global financial system and worldwide commerce into turmoil, struggling downturns not seen because the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Global commerce, already hit by commerce tensions and uncertainties round Brexit, is anticipated to register “double-digit declines in commerce volumes” in almost all areas this yr, the WTO stated final month.
The 164-member group was in the meantime already in crisis earlier than the pandemic hit, amid raging commerce wars and as the United States below President Donald Trump has pushed for dramatic reforms of the Geneva-based physique.
The WTO was, as an illustration, pressured to place its dispute settlement attraction system on ice final December after Washington blocked the appointment of latest judges, stopping it from reaching a three-judge quorum.