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Brazil confident on WTO leadership contest outcome

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Brazil said Monday it was confident about the outcome of the contest between its candidate and his Mexican rival to lead the World Trade Organization.

"We are awaiting with confidence" the runoff election between Brazilian candidate Roberto Azevedo and Mexican Herminio Blanco, Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said Monday.

The result of the closely-watched race could come as early as Tuesday.

"The Brazilian candidate has all the qualifications to do an excellent job at the WTO," Patriota said.

The Brazilian press reported Monday that Azevedo already had the necessary votes to be elected. But Patriota refused to speculate about the outcome.

The winner will have the tough task of reviving long-stalled global trade liberalization talks.

He is to succeed Frenchman Pascal Lamy, a former European Union trade chief, who bows out on September 1 after two four-year terms as director general of the WTO.

The so-called Doha Round, launched at a summit in Qatar in 2001, aims at lifting developing countries out of poverty by striking an accord that would cut agriculture subsidies and tariffs on industrial goods.

The 55-year-old Azevedo could benefit from his insider status.

He has been Brazil's WTO ambassador since 2008, after working as a chief litigator in high-profile trade disputes, making him well placed to navigate the system to try to clear the Doha logjam.

Like Mexico, Brazil repeatedly has touted its candidate's broad support across nations and economic levels.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130506/brazil-confident-wto-leadership-contest-outcome