Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Lamy Will Stay at WTO

Pascal Lamy will stay on as head of the World Trade Organization, according to the Financial Times. Two explanations are offered:

“Lamy is the best head that the WTO has had in terms of understanding the detail of the negotiations and recognising the disparate views of all parties concerned,” said Ngaire Woods, professor of international political economy at Oxford University.

“But the fact that no one is standing against him is a depressing sign. If countries thought that the organisation really mattered, someone else would stand.”

Sarkozy won't be happy. Although Lamy isn't quite as much of a bête noire of the French president as former EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, he's not Sarko's favorite international bureaucrat. Yet it seems as though agricultural trade policy, which was to have been a focal point of the French EU presidency, somehow fell through the cracks, what with the flareup in Georgia and the collapse of the global economy. Haggling over imports of wheat and frozen fish got lost in the shuffle. So the latent tensions with Lamy never came to a boil.

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