Roberto Azevedo steps down from WTO

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The WTO will soon be needing a new director-general.

Director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Roberto Azevedo has announced he will be stepping down from his position on August 31st 2020.

The move cuts short his second term by a year, with the 62-year-old Brazilian having served in this particular role since September 2013.

In an official statement, Mr Azevedo insisted his resignation is not for health-related or political reasons, but explained it is the best decision for him and his family.

Calling the past seven years "the most demanding, exciting and gratifying period in my professional life", he added: "As members start to shape the WTO's agenda for the new post-COVID realities, they should do so with a new director-general."

Mr Azevedo also remarked that while the WTO may not be perfect, it is "indispensable".

In recent months, he was known to have become exasperated with the US for refusing to allow the WTO to appoint new judges to its appellate body. This essentially rendered it ineffective in December 2019.

More recently, Mr Azevedo has called for nations across the world to reduce their trade barriers in a bid to aid the economic recovery from coronavirus.

 Image credit: World Trade Organization (WTO)