Smoke signals from this week’s Geneva cloister to determine the new leader of the World Trade Organization revealed results much less surprising than the choice of Pope Francis. The two Latin Americans, Roberto Azevedo of Brazil and Herminio Blanco of Mexico, are the finalists.
What is interesting is what this says about Asia’s support for global trade. Three highly qualified and capable Asian candidates have been cast aside in favor of theLatin Americans: Mari Pangestu of Indonesia, Bark Tae-ho of Korea and Tim Groser from New Zealand. One could reasonably argue it is Latin America’s turn to lead the WTO. An Irishman, an Italian, a shared term between a New Zealander and a Thai and then a Frenchman lead the global trade body. No leader from South or Central America has had the honor.