Brexit: UK set to nominate Liam Fox to lead World Trade Organization

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The UK government is set to nominate former cabinet minister Liam Fox as a candidate to lead the World Trade Organization, the BBC understands.

The body is searching for a new director-general to replace Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, who is standing down on 31 August.

Six countries so far have confirmed they will put forward a nominee.

Mr Fox, a Conservative MP since 2010, was an ardent backer of the UK’s exit from the EU.

His nomination by Downing Street would come as a blow to former Labour cabinet secretary Lord Mandelson, who has also expressed an interest in the role.

WTO member countries have until 17.00 BST on Wednesday to nominate candidates, with voting set to begin later this year.

The contest comes at a crucial time for the organisation, amid a slump in global trade in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Geneva-based body has also seen one of its main functions, arbitrating trade disputes, hobbled by a dispute with the United States.

President Donald Trump’s administration has blocked the appointment of new judges, arguing that the WTO has long treated the US unfairly.


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