The World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo has announced that he will step down a year earlier than planned in August 2021 in a surprise move as the trade body struggles to rein in global tensions and coordinate responses to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
The 62-year-old Brazilian has been Director-General since 2013 and his second term was due to conclude next year.
Azevedo said: “As members start to shape the WTO’s agenda for the new post-COVID realities, they should do so with a new director-general.”
He stated that his early departure as Director-General was a ‘personal decision’. Azevedo continued: “The WTO may not be perfect, but it is indispensable all the same. It is what keeps us from a world where the law of the jungle prevails, at least as far as trade is concerned.”
— Roberto Azevêdo (@WTODGAZEVEDO) May 15, 2020