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Brazilian defeats US & EU-backed candidate to win top WTO post

Brazilian Roberto Azevedo has been named to take the helm of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the selection process chief has announced. He defeated the candidate Washington preferred for the top job.

'Azevedo was leading in every single round,' Pakistan's ambassador to the WTO Shahid Bashir, who chairs the WTO's ruling General Council, said of the Brazilian career diplomat, confirming the nomination reported by diplomats on Wednesday.

Bashir spoke after he and other officials steering the race to replace Frenchman Pascal Lamy at the helm of the Geneva-based body briefed the WTO's 159 member nations about the nomination, which will not be made official until next week.

Career diplomat Azevedo beat veteran Mexican trade negotiator Herminio Blanco, the favored choice of the United States, in the final round of the contest and is the first official from the BRICS group of emerging economies to take the job. There were three rounds of competition over a period of six months.

While Mexico conceded defeat and Brazil hailed its victory after the candidates' campaign teams met with Bashir on Tuesday, the WTO had yet to make an official announcement.

Azevedo, 55, is an experienced negotiator and consensus-builder at the WTO and his insider status appeared to have clinched the race. He has been Brazil's WTO ambassador since 2008, after working as a chief litigator in high-profile trade disputes, making him well placed to navigate the system and try to clear the logjam in its 'Doha Round' talks.
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