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Brazil's WTO candidate says his election would unblock talks

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Roberto Carvalho de Azevedo, the Brazilian candidate to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO), said Friday his election would help unblock stalled global trade talks.

Azevedo, Brazil's WTO permanent representative since 2008, is to face Mexican candidate Herminio Blanco, a former senior trade negotiator, in the third and final round of the selection process early next month.

The 55-year-old career diplomat, who was his country's chief litigator in many key disputes at the WTO, has earned a reputation as an experienced and credible negotiator as well as a consensus-builder.

"What the Brazilian candidacy can bring is precisely to overcome the hurdles and for two reasons: first, my familiarity with the negotiation issues and second my ability to speak with all the participants," Azevedo told the Brazilian economic daily Valor in Geneva.

"I am gratified by the fact that the Brazilian candidacy is welcome in all regions and in all groups of developed, developing and least developed countries," he added.

"Brazil's candidacy bring people together, it does not divide them," said Azevedo, stressing that the 159 WTO member states must choose the candidate who will meet "the needs of the organization and will produce consensus in the negotiations.

He described his chances to succeed Frenchman Pascal Lamy at WTO's helm as "rather good." Lamy's second four-year term ends on September 1.

The head of the WTO, who is tasked with reviving stalled global trade talks, is not formally elected.

Unlike similar organizations such as the various arms of the United Nations, whose chiefs are nominated, the WTO picks its leader by consensus.

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.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130426/brazils-wto-candidate-says-his-election-would-unblock-talks