Head of World Trade Organization to step down early – The Audubon County Advocate Journal

GENEVA (AP) — The head of the World Trade Organization said Thursday that he will leave his post a year early, a “personal decision” that sets the stage for a succession contest at the trade body amid lingering U.S.-China tensions and a coronavirus pandemic that has doused the global economy.

Roberto Azevedo, a 62-year-old Brazilian, said he will step down Aug. 31 as WTO director-general, ending a seven-year tenure marked in recent years by intense pressure from President Donald Trump, who repeatedly accused the Geneva-based trade body of “unfair” treatment of the United States and launched a trade war with China in defiance of the WTO system.

“This is a decision that I do not take lightly,” Azevedo told a special meeting of WTO delegations. “It is a personal decision – a family decision – and I am convinced that this decision serves the best interests of this organization.”