The race to succeed Brazilian Roberto Azevêdo as head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has started. According to the Financial Times (FT), it is “turning into a battle between candidates who reflect political legitimacy as much as personal competence”. The ultimate prize is “the opportunity to defend a global trading order under severe pressure”.

The global trading order is under severe pressure in part because of the increasing retreat by the US from the multilateral system and its lack of support for it. The world has also undergone quite significant changes over the past two decades — let alone the past 70 years since the creation of the post-war liberal international order at Bretton Woods in 1944...

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