The Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP: Britain’s Candidate to become Director-General of the WTO

The UK has the honour of nominating Dr Liam Fox for the position of WTO Director General. The UK has long championed the WTO and rules based free and fair trade as a route to prosperity and security for all nations.

As the world seeks to recover from the shared challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of free and fair trade has never been more crucial.

Dr Liam Fox combines decades of proven experience at the heart of global politics, with an unwavering belief in trade as the foundation for our collective stability and prosperity.

Dr Fox believes that…

  1. We are not in ‘business as usual’. Global trade was contracting even before the COVID pandemic, so there will be major challenges post-pandemic – a different approach is required. We must embrace ‘business unusual’.
  2. The multilateral system must be rules based and our commitment to it renewed. The alternative is an anarchic free-for-all, which is damaging to everyone. Trade needs clear rules, now more than ever.
  3. This is about our collective wellbeing. Trade spreads prosperity, driving social cohesion, which underpins political stability and our collective security. Trade provides the bridge between our prosperity and security.
  4. This is about empowerment and sustainable economic development. With trade decisions driving the future of our attitudes, our approach to inclusion, society, environment, our health, and the way that we create sustainable and inclusive growth across the globe. This is about greater opportunity, for everyone.
  5. An experienced elected politician is required for the DG role to deliver these four points. Geneva is full of technical expertise, but at this time, it is political leadership and momentum that is required more than anything else. Elected politicians bring a different perspective, experience and sensitivity to the views of others.

‘Business as usual’ will not suffice in the coming years. Countries and international commerce will be challenged in entirely new ways. Only those willing to adopt a ‘business unusual’ mindset will survive and thrive.

This will require visionary leadership, calm communication, and proven delivery. Dr Liam Fox is the right person for the job, at the right time, to lead the WTO through these choppy international waters.

WTO Members have recognised that the organization must adapt appropriately to today’s new realities especially in the wake of the COVID pandemic. In a world of rapid technological change Dr Fox sees the necessary WTO reforms as opportunities to make the WTO more credible, more progressive, and more transparent for all its members.

In his campaign, Dr Fox has committed to:

  • Defend the rules-based system with a functioning dispute resolution mechanism
  • Ensure that more women are empowered to access the opportunities that global trade brings
  • Ensure the WTO plays a full role in addressing the global challenges we all face; building a more sustainable world economy and recognising that it is the smallest and most vulnerable countries who are often at greatest risk.
  • Encourage more investment in, and support for, developing countries so that they can trade their way out of poverty.

The WTO is facing extraordinary risks that it has not faced since its creation – the Director-General must have the political weight to protect it.

Dr Liam Fox has a track-record of leading change through turbulent times, at home and abroad, and has the knowledge, the skills, the experience and the determination to build consensus and inspire innovation.