Liam Fox, the U.K.ʼs candidate for the next Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), paid a visit to Budapest on Monday and met with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó, according to a report by state news wire MTI.
At a joint press conference after the meeting, Szijjártó said the next WTO DG needs to be someone who has held a high-level position in government and has lots of political experience.
He said Fox, who is the U.K.ʼs former international trade secretary, meets those criteria.
The choice of the next WTO DG is important for Hungary as its economy is one of the most open in the world, he said. Being among the winners in the new era of global trade will require a system that is free, fair and without barriers, one that allows Hungarian companies to compete without impediment, he added.
Fox said the WTO is struggling with serious problems of a political nature. He added that free trade is the future of global trade, and the WTO must work to achieve that.
Budapest is among a number of European capitals Fox is visiting ahead of the WTO DG pick.
WTO DG Roberto Azevedo announced in May that he would step down on August 31, a year before the expiry of his mandate. Fox is one of eight nominations that have been made to fill the position.
The candidates gave presentations and field questions from the WTO General Council in July, and they engaged in a campaign stage until early September. In the third phase of the DG selection, the General Council will seek to narrow the field of candidates through consultations with the aim of choosing a candidate by a consensus of all WTO members.