WITA WEBINAR: Conversation with WTO Director General Candidate Hamid Mamdouh
Wendy Cutler with the Washington International Trade Association (WITA)
On Tuesday, June 23rd, Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) Vice President Wendy Cutler cohosted a webinar with the Washington International Trade Association (WITA). Cutler, along with WITA Executive Director Ken Levinson and National Foreign Trade Council President Amb. Rufus Yerxa, took turns interviewing Hamid Mamdouh. Mamdouh is a former Egyptian trade negotiator and longtime senior World Trade Organization (WTO) official, where he most recently served as the Director in the Trade in Services and Investment Division. He has since been nominated as an official candidate for the WTO’s soon-to-be-vacant Director General position.
Cutler noted that the Director General selection “is always a difficult process with a lot of politics involved,” and stressed that all of that would hold true during the coming selection period, which takes place amid a series of crises and strains that the WTO is facing. She emphasized the criteria that the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has recently announced it would require from candidates in order to garner U.S. support, and said it usually takes nine months to pick a Director General, but this time there’s an effort to finish the process before the current Director General steps down on August 31. Mamdouh, who said he was running because of his “fundamental belief in the multilateral trading system,” joined WITA to discuss his candidacy as part of an ongoing WITA series where all declared candidates would be invited to participate in coming webinars and discuss their campaigns.