The Economist Today, which has been publishing since September 1843, has warned possible successors to World Trade Organization (WTO) chief Roberto Azevedo on May 23, 2020 to go beyond the tax-free salary and cushy benefits and plunge headlong into a thankless job that Azevedo would leave on August 31.

"Trade in goods could fall by as much as a third this year. Even before COVID-19, the trade rule book was in tatters. The pandemic seems set to make protectionist barriers rise even faster. Australia and China are squaring off. This, you might think, is your moment to shine. You might hope to broker grand deals, or, at the very least, to fix the WTO’s system of settling disputes,” The Economist Today noted.

“To become a candidate, a member must put you forward before July 8th. The winner must be agreeable to America, Europe and China. If such a person even exists, it probably won’t be one of their own. Perhaps that clears the way for the first African boss. Names being floated include Amina Mohamed, Kenya’s former WTO ambassador, and Yonov Frederick Agah, a Nigerian and Mr Azevêdo’s deputy,” it added.

“You will discover that the WTO would be a marvelous institution were it not for its members. The poor ones want exemptions from rules that have not yet been written. The rich ones are loath to make the concessions needed to get anything done. Some of America’s lawmakers want to withdraw from the organization (a ‘relic’) altogether. You might find yourself wishing they just got on with it. But their heft makes them useful, when they choose to be,” the magazine concluded.

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