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Canada hails new WTO chief, urges fighting protectionism


Canada welcomed Wednesday the appointment of Brazilian diplomat Roberto Azevedo to head the World Trade Organization, urging him to fight the threat that protectionism poses to the global economic recovery.

"I would like to congratulate Ambassador Azevedo on his appointment as director-general of the WTO and offer him Canada's full support during this critical time in the organization's history and in our global economy," Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast said in a statement.

Fast called upon Azevedo "to combat the protectionism that remains a toxic threat to the global economic recovery."

"We must also work together to re-establish the WTO as an institution that can credibly advance efforts to liberalize multilateral trade in the best interests of all of its members," he said.

"Therefore, it is crucial that meaningful outcomes are achieved at the next WTO meeting, in Bali."

Azevedo, 55, takes the helm of a 159-member grouping still trying to find its way after the 2008 collapse of the Doha development-focused round of global trade talks. Current rules underpinning global trade date from 1994.

Azevedo replaces Pascal Lamy, the former EU trade commissioner.