New WTO Director-General Rolls into Town with High Hopes

By Aliza Kempner

There’s a new sheriff in town at the World Trade Organization (WTO), but some think Director General Roberto Azevedo’s plan to add hundreds of billions of dollars to the world economy and instigate wide trade reforms might just be too little, too late. In light of WTO’s consistent failure to agree to any new global trade deal since it was founded in 1995, Azevedo’s plan, the first global trade deal in two decades, has a lot of hurdles to clear. The desired agreement covers several areas, most notably including trade facilitation — a global standardization and simplification of customs procedures that could cut trade costs by 10 percent for developed countries and by 14 percent for developing countries.

Reuters examines the stakes as the countdown to the deadline continues.