Trade Minister Urges Consensus Decision For Wto Director-general

  • Lockwood Smith

Trade Minister Lockwood Smith said that the situation in Geneva is positive for Mike Moore in view of the recommendation in his favour by the Chair of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) General Council, Ambassador Mchumo of Tanzania.

"This recommendation is based on an agreed and robust consultative process which the Chair, together with the Swiss Ambassador to the WTO, has been carrying out with all WTO members," said Dr Smith.

"In the course of meetings in Geneva over the past three days the Chair has reinforced his view of the appropriateness of the procedure and of his report.

Dr Smith said that he is also encouraged by the overwhelming support amongst the membership of the WTO for deciding the organisation's next Director-General by consensus, rather than a vote.

"The principle of consensus enables all member countries, large and small, to have a say and produces a result in which all members can feel a sense of ownership," said Dr Smith.

"Although it may take longer to reach a decision by consensus, the principle of consensus is central to the effective operation of the WTO, and it's important for the Organisation that we don't move away from this.

"I expect that the Chair's report to WTO Members will remain the foundation for a decision.

"But it is inevitable that with 134 Members and a major issue under discussion, this process may take some further time. Clearly however, the Organisation has a strong interest in resolving this as quickly as possible.

"New Zealand's position is that the WTO is right to adhere to the consensus approach and we reiterate our appeal, made in Geneva, for the membership to act responsibly and fairly in accordance with that agreed process," concluded Dr Smith.