July 10, 2020 / 6:56 PM / 25 days ago

Mexico gives up OECD in campaign to head World Trade Organization

FILE PHOTO: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Secretary-General Angel Gurria speaks at a news conference following the "1+6" Roundtable meeting at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing, China November 21, 2019. REUTERS/Florence Lo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Angel Gurria of Mexico, said on Friday he will not seek re-election, in a move apparently aimed at bolstering the chances of Mexico’s candidate to lead the World Trade Organization.

Responding to the announcement, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said the country was committed to defending multilateralism as a policy priority.

“Angel Gurria has announced that he will not seek re-election in the OECD, but Mexico is promoting the candidacy of Dr. Jesus Seade to lead the WTO,” a spokesman said. “He has the necessary profile, after the successful negotiation of the USMCA to advance with present and future challenges of the WTO.”

Seade, who led his government’s team to conclude negotiations of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal, is currently in Geneva and likely to present his candidacy to the body next week.

Eight candidates are vying for the top job. With three of the six previous director-generals coming from Europe and the others from Thailand, Brazil and New Zealand, pressure has been building to choose a leader from Africa.

Gurria said on Twitter that he would continue to work until June 2021.

Reporting by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Leslie Adler

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