Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) formally agreed on Tuesday to appoint Brazil’s WTO Ambassador Roberto Azevedo as the next director-general of the organization.  The WTO’s ruling General Council agreed by consensus to accept a selection committee recommendation that Azevedo take over from France’s Pascal Lamy, who will step down at the end of August after eight years at the WTO helm.  Azevedo beat out eight other candidates for the WTO’s top post in a contest that lasted four and a half months.

Azevedo said that he and members “will be ready to immediately start working towards solving the most pressing challenges faced by this organization,” which is the WTO’s critical ministerial conference in Bali, Indonesia, in early December.  Bali “is just around the corner and we have no time to lose,” Azevedo said.  The United States and others have warned that failure at Bali could spell the end of the stalled Doha Round of trade talks, now in their 12th year.  “I pledge to all members that I will work with them, with unwavering and steadfast determination, to restore the WTO to the role and preeminence it  deserves and must have,” Azevedo told the WTO General Council.