If Tim Groser is successful with his WTO ambition – who will take over as NZ’s Minister of Trade?

Your much-admired MP’s Cabinet ambitions have just been rekindled.

Is there a vacancy?

Not yet. But before too long, Trade Minister Tim Groser’s job could be up for grabs because he is saying (here) his bid to become the next director-general of the World Trade Organisation is no longer “a long shot”.

Why he has shared this information with the NZ Herald before confiding in Alf is somewhat disappointing.

But here’s wishing him all the best.

If Tim’s in with a chance…then so must be Guess Who, from Eketahuna North, when The Boss has to look for a replacement.

The Herald says –

From the original nine candidates, Mr Groser has made it through the next round of five candidates.

Over the next few weeks, they will be reduced to a shortlist of two.

“What we thought was a very long shot I don’t think you could describe as a very long shot any longer,” he told the Herald.

The newspaper reminds us (as Tim likes to do without much prompting) that he is a former trade ambassador to the World Trade Organisation in Geneva.

He is competing for the WTO’s top job with candidates from Indonesia (Mari Pangestu), South Korea (Taeho Bark), Mexico (Herminio Blanco) and Brazil (Roberto Azevedo).

That’s got to be stiffer competition than Alf would face to replace him, of course.

He said he needed strong support from developed and developing countries to survive this far.

“Given that three out of four members in the WTO, 120 out of 159, are a developing country, I needed to get strong support from developing countries to survive politically.

“I’m hoping that our developing country friends will reflect on this and come to the conclusion that the most important thing for the WTO is to have someone who can do the job, because at the end of the day you are not electing a country to lead the WTO, you’re electing a person.”

He is aware that a New Zealander has previously held the job (Mike Moore from 1999-2002) and this may be an obstacle.

But the real issue – he said – was whether a candidate had the networks, experience and intellectual and physical capacity.

Ask him if he has those attributes and his ego may well get the better of his modesty. So it’s better not to ask.

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