AVN 55.92 Decreased By ▼ -1.10 (-1.93%)
BOP 10.09 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-0.39%)
CHCC 131.50 Increased By ▲ 2.67 (2.07%)
DCL 9.21 Decreased By ▼ -0.11 (-1.18%)
DGKC 107.19 Decreased By ▼ -0.40 (-0.37%)
EFERT 67.40 Decreased By ▼ -0.10 (-0.15%)
EPCL 32.00 Decreased By ▼ -0.61 (-1.87%)
FCCL 21.25 Increased By ▲ 0.14 (0.66%)
FFL 13.15 Increased By ▲ 1.18 (9.86%)
HASCOL 13.58 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.07%)
HBL 128.91 Increased By ▲ 4.25 (3.41%)
HUBC 82.94 Increased By ▲ 1.54 (1.89%)
HUMNL 9.35 Decreased By ▼ -0.25 (-2.6%)
JSCL 16.23 Increased By ▲ 0.38 (2.4%)
KAPCO 24.62 Decreased By ▼ -0.13 (-0.53%)
KEL 3.63 Decreased By ▼ -0.08 (-2.16%)
LOTCHEM 13.01 Decreased By ▼ -0.19 (-1.44%)
MLCF 33.65 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
OGDC 113.94 Decreased By ▼ -0.57 (-0.5%)
PAEL 33.72 Increased By ▲ 0.97 (2.96%)
PIBTL 11.11 Decreased By ▼ -0.23 (-2.03%)
PIOC 82.00 Increased By ▲ 5.90 (7.75%)
POWER 8.89 Increased By ▲ 0.77 (9.48%)
PPL 98.97 Decreased By ▼ -0.06 (-0.06%)
PSO 186.45 Increased By ▲ 2.45 (1.33%)
SNGP 56.00 Decreased By ▼ -0.37 (-0.66%)
STPL 11.31 Increased By ▲ 0.10 (0.89%)
TRG 51.20 Increased By ▲ 1.44 (2.89%)
UNITY 12.40 Decreased By ▼ -0.16 (-1.27%)
WTL 0.97 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-3.96%)
BR100 4,185 Increased By ▲ 48 (1.17%)
BR30 21,426 Increased By ▲ 267 (1.26%)
KSE100 40,303 Increased By ▲ 431 (1.08%)
KSE30 17,522 Increased By ▲ 201 (1.16%)
CASES 280,461 432
DEATHS 5,999 15
Sindh 121,705 Cases
Punjab 93,336 Cases
Balochistan 11,777 Cases
Islamabad 15,095 Cases
KP 34,253 Cases

GENEVA: The beleaguered World Trade Organization said its members failed to agree Friday on appointing one of the four deputy directors-general as an interim chief - underlining the deadlock in the institution. Already engulfed in multiple crises, the WTO could be left with nobody at the helm if the global trade body fails to find a replacement before Director-General Roberto Azevedo steps down at the end of August.

The stand-off comes with the WTO already mired in hopelessly-stalled trade negotiations and surging trade tensions between the United States and China - and as the world faces a devastating global economic downturn sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

"We were not able to get a consensus," WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell told a press conference.

"The frustration would come from the inability to obtain consensus on... an administrative job that would last a few months."

In a surprise move in mid-May, Brazilian career diplomat Azevedo announced he was ending his second four-year term 12 months early at the end of August for personal reasons.

According to WTO guidelines, one of the organisation's four deputy chiefs should be chosen to hold the reins until the next director-general can take over. The deputy DGs are Yonov Frederick Agah of Nigeria, Karl Brauner of Germany, Yi Xiaozhun of China and Alan Wolff of the United States. The first three have been in post since 2013, Wolff since 2017.

But there are eight candidates in all vying to replace Azevedo. They will be whittled down to five and then two, in a process based on consensus which is expected to last until mid-November.

What should have been a straightforward process has been complicated by US "politicisation", a diplomatic source lamented. The WTO's General Council began discussing the issue last week, and most expected a quick decision, but were caught by surprise when the United States turned it into a "political issue", a Geneva-based trade diplomat told AFP on Thursday. When delegates told General Council chairman David Walker which deputy they wanted to take over temporarily, "the things that they pointed to were nationality, experience and the duties they carried out", Rockwell said Friday.

"It's not a surprise that politics might be part of this process."

Speaking to the membership, Azevedo said it was disappointing that they were unable to decide on an acting director-general, said Rockwell. On Thursday, a Geneva-based trade diplomat said that failure to agree on an interim leader would not spark a "practical crisis", because the four deputies would simply carry on handling the areas they are already in charge of.

And the General Council could put any outstanding issues that needed urgent attention directly to the membership. The problem, the diplomat said, is that "this is a symptom of conflicts within the membership that are surfacing and impacting even in the most routine and everyday issues.

"People are exasperated that such a straightforward issue can be politicised in this way."

The United States has said it is willing to accept a compromise in which there would be a month-to-month rotation between Wolff and Brauner until a permanent director-general assumes office. "This notion that the US is deadlocking is false," a senior US official who asked not to be named told AFP.