Saudi Arabia’s al-Tuwaijri advances to second round of WTO leadership race

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Saudi Arabia’s former Minister of Economy and Planning Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri advanced to the second round of the World Trade Organization (WTO) leadership race, Reuters reported on Friday.

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Al-Tuwaijri was the Kingdom’s Minister of Economy and Planning between 2016 and 2020, where he oversaw part of Kingdom’s ambitious economic transformation plan.

A total of three women and two men bidding to become the next director-general of the WTO advanced to the second round of the selection process, the Geneva-based body said on Friday.

The other four to go through to the next round are Kenyan minister Amina Mohamed, former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee and British ex-minister Liam Fox.

The WTO is looking for a new director-general to replace Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down a year earlier than expected at the end of August.

Azevedo's successor will face a considerable challenge with rising global tensions and protectionism during a COVID-induced slowdown, most obviously between Beijing and President Donald Trump's US administration, and pressure to drive reform.

Round two, in which the WTO's 164 members will give their preferences from Sept 24 to Oct 6, will whittle the candidates down to two. The WTO has said it wants to select the winner by early November.

- With Reuters

Al Arabiya English's Matthew Amlôt contributed to this report.

Read more:

Saudi Arabia nominates former minister Mohammad al-Tuwaijri for WTO director-general

EU trade chief Hogan considering candidacy for WTO director-general post

WTO to open nominations for next director on June 8, after Azevedo steps down

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