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Head of World Trade Organization to step down suddenly
Published on: 2020-05-15
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The head of the organization charged with bringing a semblance of order to international trade relations resigned unexpectedly Thursday, adding another element of uncertainty to commerce in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and escalating trade conflicts.
 

Roberto Azevêdo, a career Brazilian diplomat, resigned as the director-general of the World Trade Organization effective Aug. 31, the Geneva-based organization said. His second four-year term was not scheduled to end until September 2021.
 

The W.T.O.’s operations have been crippled since late last year as a result of actions by the Trump administration, which has refused to approve nominees to fill vacancies on a crucial appeals panel that rules on trade disputes.

World Trade Organization Director General Roberto Azevedo arrives for a press conference on global trade growth forecasts for 2019 2020 in GenevaWorld Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevedo arrives for a press conference on global trade growth forecasts for 2019-2020 in Geneva

With Mr. Azevêdo’s departure, which caught officials in Geneva and Brussels by surprise, the organization will lose an advocate of open trade and international cooperation whose views clashed with President Trump’s preference for bilateral power politics.
 

His resignation also leaves a leadership vacuum at a perilous moment for the world economy.
 

World trade was already declining because of Mr. Trump’s trade wars with Europe and China, and has plunged further since the pandemic brought economic activity in many countries to a standstill. The W.T.O. has predicted that global trade could fall by one-third, a decline not seen since the Great Depression in the 1930s.
 

突发!WTO总干事宣布提前离职

世界贸易组织(WTO)总干事阿泽维多14日宣布将于8月31日离职。阿泽维多自2013年以来一直担任WTO总干事,2017年连任后第二任期原本将于明年8月底结束。法新社报道称,阿泽维多此时辞职并非好时机,新冠疫情正在冲击164个WTO成员国的经济,贸易战风波尚未平息,而且美国总统特朗普还在要求WTO做出重大改革。

联合国13日发布《2020年世界经济形势与展望年中报告》。报告认为,受新冠肺炎疫情影响,今年全球经济总量将缩减3.2%,这也是1930年代“大萧条”以来最严重的全球经济总量缩减。由于疫情严重冲击全球供应量并导致全球市场需求大幅下降,今年全球贸易将缩减15%。英国《卫报》13日报道称,联合国预计今年第二季度全球贸易将缩减27%,创下有记录以来的最大跌幅,突出表现为全球汽车、机器设备部件和原油贸易的骤减。

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