“We should focus on successes instead of disputes”: Saudi’s WTO candidate

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
  • Follow author on
Representational Image

Saudi Arabia’s candidate for the top Director-General position at the World Trade Organisation, Mr. Mohammad Maziad Al Tuwaijri stands out from the other contenders through his more managerial approach to the position. 

Mr. Al Tuwaijri, Saudi Air Force pilot and former Minister of Economy and Planning, believes there are lessons to be learned from Saudi Vision 2030. The plan, which he helped create in 2016, aims to reduce the economic dependency of the Kingdom on oil and to grow public service sectors in areas such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation and tourism by 2030.

Mr. Al Tuwaijri regards WTO management and leadership aspects as similar in nature to the transformation of the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia’s former Minister of Economy Mohammad Maziad Al Tuwaijri is one among eight candidates who have been nominated for the WTO Director-General position.

He believes the organization was in a state of stagnation and that reform was necessary and that that the world is going through many changes that had affected trade.

“We should focus on successes instead of disagreements,” he said in a news conference, adding that WTO faced problems in resolving disagreements.

Although he said many of the WTO’s problems related to management and leadership, he also admitted that there were political issues.

He was of the opinion that the future of the world beyond the pandemic seems mysterious but he was hopeful that the post-pandemic era could be full of great opportunities.

He encourages all leaders to be aware of the root causes collectively and provide “key performance indicators to ensure that the organization does not drift again.”

He is one of eight candidates that appeared before the General Council of the WTO – the decision-making body made up of envoys from the 164 member countries – this week to pitch their suitability for director-general.

Also included in this year’s shortlist are three women and three African candidates, and a Brexiteer.

The new leadership of the WTO is facing unprecedented challenges such as growing global trade tensions, rising protectionism and economic uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

The general council will take a decision on the candidates by 31 August, when Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo, steps down.