Pascal Lamy has become a new head of WTO

Former European Union Trade Commissioner &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Pascal Lamy was today selected to head the World Trade Organization, according to his rival for the job, the Uruguayan candidate Carlos Perez del Castillo.

Lamy, a 58-year-old Frenchman, ended a five-year stint as EU trade commissioner on Nov. 21. Before that, he was No. 2 at Credit Lyonnais SA, overseeing the privatization of the French bank after it lost $20 billion in a series of scandals.

With a budget of 157 million Swiss francs ($130 million) and 600 staff, Lamy will be responsible for overseeing the only global rules governing trade between nations. Answerable to 148 member governments, he'll be charged with managing a December summit in &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Hong Kong and brokering a global accord next year that cuts border tariffs and opens markets to goods and services, tells Bloomberg.

Lamy went head-to-head with the U.S. in a series of trans-Atlantic rifts at the WTO, including disputes over steel, government aid to Boeing and Airbus, hormone-treated beef and protection for geographically specific products such as Champagne and Parma ham.

But he insisted that Americans and Europeans "cannot let the EU-U.S. relationship fall on stony ground." The French Socialist also received criticism from developing nations for not making enough trade concessions on Europe's heavily subsidized farm products, while his home country's government publicly criticized him for giving away too much.

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