Race for OECD leadership creates tensions between US and Europe

The appointment to the position may, according to some analysts and politicians close to the organization, define the future of globalization. Different European and American preferences can lead to yet another focus of tension between the two blocs, and if Joe Biden wins, the question arises about his choice for the post, which should differ from that expressed by President Trump.

Miguel A. Lopes / Lusa

The succession of the secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is motivating a highly contested race for office, with the various member states of the organ actively promoting its candidate, in an appointment that could dictate the future of patterns of globalization, as Bloomberg points out.

With the retirement of Angel Gurria for the year, the top position of the organization is vacant and several powers are looking to see their candidate at the head of the OECD. The issue takes on added importance at a time when the agency is carrying out delicate negotiations on digital taxes, a sensitive topic that could cause a transatlantic trade war, Bloomberg explains.

Gurria's mandate is marked by the greater proactivity of the organization, which worked to dismantle tax havens in the post-crisis period of 2008 and strengthened ties with large non-OECD economies, such as China or India. However, maintaining that course will depend heavily on who succeeds you.

On the one hand, the United States wants to see President Trump's Chief of Staff, Christopher Liddell, in office. The American, who also has New Zealand nationality, has experience in the private sector, having served as chief financial officer at General Motors and Microsoft. As Bloomberg notes, the remaining member states may be less receptive to his appointment, given his position on digital taxes.

The European bloc's preferred candidate is Cecilia Malmstrom, the current European Commissioner for Trade. Her experience in negotiating multilateral agreements places her at the top of the qualifications for the post, but aligning OECD priorities with the European Union in terms of climate action and digital taxation leads her to collect the preferences of most states Member States.

The current president of Estonia, the former Canadian finance minister, the current Australian finance minister and the president of the Czech Chamber of Commerce are still in the race.

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