Groser makes WTO short-list

Audrey Young reports:

Trade Minister Tim Groser says his bid to become the next director-general of the World Trade Organisation is no longer “a long shot”.

From the original nine candidates, Mr Groser has made it through the next round of five candidates.

Over the next few weeks, they will be reduced to a shortlist of two.

“What we thought was a very long shot I don’t think you could describe as a very long shot any longer,” he told the Herald.

Mr Groser is a former trade ambassador to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), based in Geneva.

He is competing with candidates from Indonesia (Mari Pangestu), South Korea (Taeho Bark), Mexico (Herminio Blanco) and Brazil (Roberto Azevedo).

He said he needed strong support from developed and developing countries to survive this far.

“Given that three out of four members in the WTO, 120 out of 159, are a developing country, I needed to get strong support from developing countries to survive politically.

I would not be surprised if Tim makes the final two. However my expectations are that while Groser is the strongest candidate (by far) on a personal level, being from a developed country will count against him with most of the voting countries. Hence when it gets down to the final two, the other candidate will win through.

I hope I am wrong, as we need a strong WTO to liberalise world trade and Groser would do an excellent job.

The Guardian profiles the five remaining candidates. I think Roberto Azevedo from Brazil could be the one to beat.

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