GENEVA – The World Trade Organization on Wednesday selected Junichi Ihara, Japan’s representative in Geneva, as the next chairman of the WTO General Council.
Ihara, who will hold the post for a one-year term, becomes the second Japanese to head the General Council following Shotaro Oshima, who took the helm of the body in 2004.
Ihara will steer the 164-member trade watchdog’s decision-making body together with WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo.
Until March, Ihara chaired WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body for a year and has been credited for mediating disputes between advanced and developing countries.
He is assuming the position at a time when concern is mounting that U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports could trigger a global trade war.