World Trade Organization Director General Roberto Azevedo stepped down on Monday, pledging to continue to advocate for the multilateral trading system in all of his future roles.
“It has been an immense honor to serve as WTO Director General,” Azevedo said on Twitter. “My message as I end my tenure today: the multilateral trading system is — as its architects intended — a fundamental pillar of global peace and prosperity.”
Azevedo has been WTO chief since 2013 and has served his second term since 2017. In May, the Brazilian career diplomat surprisingly announced his intention to step down on Aug. 31, cutting his second term short by exactly one year.
He stressed that the WTO reform process must continue for the system to stay responsive to the needs of the global community. “International cooperation is not easy, but it is necessary to meet the needs of an interconnected world. Without cooperation, all countries will be worse off.”
The WTO started the selection process for the new director general on June 8. Eight candidates have already been nominated by their countries to succeed Azevedo.