(Corrects end of Lamy's term, paragraph 2)
* Lamy: competence, not geography to guide choice of new
* Verdict on Ukraine's move will hinge on what concessions
it will offer
* Lamy says sees some movement on Doha Round talks
By Kaori Kaneko
TOKYO, Oct 13 World Trade Organization Director
General Pascal Lamy said on Saturday that there was no system of
rotating his job between countries and regions and his successor
should be picked on the basis of competence alone.
Lamy, who will leave the WTO after two terms in August 2013,
said it was up to the organisation's member countries to decide
on the criteria for selecting the new WTO chief who will oversee
unfinished negotiations over trade
Emerging market countries will want to see one of their own
in charge of the Geneva-based trading club after the top jobs at
the IMF and the World Bank went to a European and an American
following a decades old tradition criticised as being out of
line with the new world order.
Lamy said the selection procedure at the WTO is different.
"I don't think this is a geographic rotation system," Lamy
told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the semi-annual
International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in Tokyo.
"There is nothing in the rules of the WTO that say that if
somebody came from this country, then the next one should come
from this country. I think what really matters is that it's not
a diplomatic game. It's a headhunting game."
Formal nominations are not due until December, but trade
diplomats are already assessing chances and gathering names.
Two candidates have formally declared their interest:
Ghana's former trade minister Alan Kyerematen and New Zealand's
current trade minister Tim Groser. Trade diplomats expect more
candidates to emerge.
Asked about Ukraine's decision to tell its trading partners
it wanted to raise maximum tariffs on hundreds of imported
goods, a move criticised as a threat to open trade, Lamy said
the WTO verdict would depend on what concessions Ukraine was
ready to offer in return.
He said WTO rules allowed a member to take such steps if it
offered to reduce protection on other products and ultimately it
was a matter of negotiations between Ukraine and its trading
"The spirit is that if you make your economy less open on
one item, you have to compensate by opening (the) economy on
another item. So it is the process of negotiation," he said.
"I wouldn't pre-qualify this. If Ukraine wants to increase
its protection on some items and decreases its protection on
other items, we have to look at the balance before making a
Ukraine has expressed its intention to raise tariff ceilings
without any precise number.
The move drew criticism from at least 19 nations arguing it
could undermine the very basis of the $18 trillion global trade
On Lamy's watch as head of the WTO, he has witnessed the
stalling of decade-long talks on trade liberalisation known as
the Doha Round. But he said he saw promising signs that some
progress was possible and that he was "cautiously optimistic"
now as opposed to "cautiously pessimistic" a year ago.
"I think there is a bit more momentum. And it took a bit of
time for the members to realise that the big deal was not
available in a short time and to realise that, if that was the
situation, they nevertheless had to try and move trade opening
forward," he said.
"Especially in a situation where we know that opening more
trade is a low-cost solution to stimulating growth. So there is
also a sort of crisis exit component in this, let's say, new
(Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Neil Fullick)