WTO selects trade experts from the US and China among new deputy directors

GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Trade Organization (WTO) has once again elected trade experts from China and the United States as deputy directors, maintaining a delicate geopolitical balance that also keeps both powers within reach.

Two of the four selected are women, something that happens for the first time in the global trade body. His four predecessors, all men, resigned on March 31.

Angela Ellard, a US trade lawyer who has served in Congress, and Zhang Xiangchen, currently China’s vice minister of trade and former ambassador to the WTO, will replace their compatriots, the WTO said in a statement.

France’s envoy to the WTO Jean-Marie Paugam and former Costa Rican trade minister Anabel González were also chosen, he added.

“It is the first time in the history of our organization that half of the deputy directors general are women,” Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said in a statement. Okonjo-Iweala, who became CEO on March 1, is the first woman and the first African to lead the WTO.

“This underscores my commitment to strengthening our organization with talented leaders, while also achieving gender balance in senior positions,” he added.

Traditionally, the deputy directors of the WTO come from the United States, the European Union, Asia and a developing country. The Indian Mohan Kumar had challenged Zhang for the position of Asia this time.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Emma Farge; Edited in Spanish by Ricardo Figueroa)