Brazil's candidate for WTO chief is respected diplomat

Brazil's Roberto Carvalho de Azevedo, the favorite to succeed Frenchman Pascal Lamy at the helm of the World Trade Organization, is a respected career diplomat with broad experience in international economic and trade issues.

As Brazil's WTO permanent representative since 2008, he has earned a reputation as an experienced and credible negotiator as well as a consensus-builder, diplomats say.

Azevedo, now 55, was Brazil's chief litigator in many key disputes at the WTO, serving on and chairing dispute-settlement panels.

He has taken part, in various capacities, in nearly all WTO ministerial conferences since the launch of the Doha Round of trade negotiations in 2001.

An unprecedented nine candidates entered the race to replace Lamy -- a former European Union trade chief who has served two four-year terms as WTO director-general -- from September 1.

Azevedo, who joined Brazil's foreign service in 1984, previously represented his country in the World Intellectual Property Organisation, the United Nations Council for Trade and Development and the International Telecommunications Union.

He also served at the Brazilian embassies in Washington (1988-91) and Montevideo (1992-94), as well as at his country's UN mission in Geneva (1997-2001).

Married and the father of two daughters, Azevedo is fluent in the WTO's three official languages: English, French, and Spanish.

Created in 1995, the WTO aims to advance global trade talks to spur growth by opening markets and removing trade barriers, including subsidies, excessive taxes and regulations.

Its boss has the difficult task of reviving long-stalled talks on boosting global commerce and economic development in the organisation's 159 member states.