EU trade Commissioner Hogan considering WTO chief candidacy

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, a spokesman said on Sunday.

The post will become vacant at the end of August after incumbent Roberto Azevedo announced that he would step down a year early.

Hogan is known to be a keen advocate of reform of the WTO, and if chosen for the job would step in at a time of escalating U.S.- China tensions and rising protectionism.

Hogan, a European commissioner since 2014, 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.

The issue could become the central topic of a meeting of EU ministers responsible for trade provisionally set for June 9th. Europe could then put forward a single candidate.

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