The first meeting
of the General Council of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for this year was
recently held; during the event it was announced that Ambassador Fernando de
Mateo, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the agency, has been named
President of the General Council of the WTO.
The General Council
is the highest decision-making body at the WTO in Geneva. It consists of
permanent representatives of all members and is authorized to act on behalf of
the Ministerial Conference which meets once every two years.
De Mateo is a
recognized expert in international trade, with a long career as an economist
and a trade negotiator. He was Chairman of the Dispute Settlement Body of the
WTO, the more active and effective forum of solution of international disputes
in the world; he also served for several years as president of the body
responsible for overseeing the negotiations on services in the Doha Round
negotiations. Over the past six years he was also Chairman of the OECD Trade.
His promotion to
President of the General Council gives Mexico an excellent position at the WTO,
in the year of the twentieth anniversary of the Organization.
This year is also
crucial to the WTO, with the celebration, in mid-December, of the tenth
Ministerial Conference of the Organization, where important results are
expected. The success of the conference depends on the progress that its members
succeed in their preparation.
In its declaration
of acceptance of Presidency, Fernando de Mateo stressed that this is a decisive
year for the future of the WTO. It is when the will of the members must cohere
to achieve decision-making progress in concluding the Doha Round. He offered to
the members make every effort to make the Council's works a full contribution
to strengthening the relevance of WTO in the scheme of global economic
In 1995, as a
result of the Uruguay Round, the WTO was created, an institution that replaced
the GATT. The Ministerial Conference, the highest decision-making body, is
composed of the ministers of all member countries (currently 160) and must meet
once every two years.
To date, there have
been nine ministerial conferences, the last one held in Bali, Indonesia, in
December 2014. The tenth ministerial meeting will be held in December 2015. In
December 2001, the ministers decided to launch the Doha Round, in order to
further liberalize the worldwide trade.
Council, composed of the ambassadors of all members, is responsible for
monitoring the operation and administer the WTO agreements in the interim
between Ministerial Conferences. The presidency of the General Council has had
Canada during 2014.