by Linda Straker
- Agriculture sector as food security and sustainable jobs
- Roberto Azevedo stepped down as WTO Director-General a year before mandate expiry
- From 5 October Grenada will have new minister and senator for agriculture
As Grenada and other nations throw more focus on the agriculture sector as a means of food security and creations of sustainable jobs, the United Kingdom candidate to fill the post of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has pledged to make agriculture reform a priority.
Dr Liam Fox is one of 5 persons who have reached the semifinal process of selecting the new Director General. Outgoing Director General, Roberto Azevedo’s term expires in September 2021, but he left at the end of August 2020, stepping “down as Director-General a year before the expiry of his mandate.”
The former WTO Director-General resigned at the height of the marauding Covid-19 when international trade was facing a test of all times as countries took protectionist positions shaking the multilateral trading system to the core.
Dr Fox, according to a news release from his campaign team, has pledged to make unlocking progress on agricultural reform a priority, if made Director-General of the WTO. “The WTO has long failed to make meaningful progress on reducing and reforming trade distortive agricultural subsidies because of competing pressures from WTO Members. Now Dr Fox says the context of the coronavirus pandemic means reform on the trade in agriculture and agricultural goods is critical to ensure a ‘fairer and more robust’ economic recovery.” The release was published 1 October.
Dr Fox said the new Director-General has a clear mandate for reform on a range of issues including domestic subsidies and market access. That mandate also extends to public stockholding as well as export restrictions, export competition, cotton and the Special Safeguard Mechanism. “All Members of the WTO understand that agriculture is a special case and governments have a fundamental obligation to make sure that their citizens are fed. The coronavirus pandemic makes progress in agricultural reform all the more critical – together we have an opportunity to ensure that the economic recovery in agricultural trade is fairer and more robust than ever.”
He added, “Agricultural and fisheries discussions mean so much to the people in local and rural communities across the globe. If the WTO cannot deliver for these people, then it is failing in its duty to use trade as a vehicle to improve the lives of all our citizens across the world.”
UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, nominated Dr Fox to be a candidate to replace Azevedo, who stepped down after 7 years in charge.
Dr Fox is campaigning to restore the credibility of the WTO at the heart of the rules-based trading system as well as other initiatives to reform its Appellate Body. The shortlist of 5 candidates comprises Amina Mohamed from Kenya; Ngozi Okonjo-Ikweala from Nigeria; Yoo Myung-hee from South Korea; Muhammad Al-Tuwaijiri from Saudi Arabia, and Liam Fox from the UK.
The second phase selection process began on 24 September and will end on 6 October. The process will select 2 candidates, from which one will be nominated to be the WTO Director-General in the final process that should be concluded by 7 November.
Grenada, from 5 October will have a new minister for agriculture as well as a new agriculture senator in the Upper House, with agriculture in focus as part of measures to boost the economy.
NOW Grenada is not responsible for the opinions, statements or media content presented by contributors. In case of abuse, click here to report.