Hogan mulling candidacy for WTO chief

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Brussels

European trade commissioner Phil Hogan is considering putting his name forward as a candidate to be the next director-general of the World Trade Organization, his spokesman said on Sunday. The WTO post will become vacant at the end of August after incumbent Roberto Azevedo said he would step down a year early. The next director-general will be faced with intensifying U.S.-China tensions and rising protectionism, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new chief will also have to push forward talks to limit overfishing and set new rules on e-commerce. Hogan, an Irishman, has been a European commissioner since 2014, initially responsible for agriculture and since late 2019 for trade. He told the European Parliament on Thursday that it would be “wonderful” if a European became the next head of the Geneva-based trade body. Two other potential European candidates are Spanish foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya and Dutch trade minister Sigrid Kaag.—Reuters