Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Wednesday, May 19, 1999 Published at 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK

Business: The Economy

In profile: Mike Moore

Mike Moore: "I prefer to take a taxi."

The former New Zealand premier Mike Moore is seen by many as the frontrunner in the race for the top job at the World Trade Organisation.

World trade wars
The 50-year-old comes from a strong trade union background and is a passionate supporter of free trade, but also an advocate for underprivileged and less powerful smaller states.

A social democrat from the liberal reformist wing of New Zealand's Labor Party, he has been involved in trade and foreign policy issues for many years.

As trade minister he helped to transform New Zealand from a protectionist backwater into a free-market economy.

US support

His antipodean enthusiasm for cutting agricultural subsidies may prove a trifle alarming to some countries.

But the United States, South America, and powerful European Union nations including France and Germany are rallying for the Kiwi.

US multi-national companies seem to favour the free-marketeer image of the New Zealander more than the pro-developing world image of his main opponent, Thai deputy prime minister Supachai Panitchpakdi.

The US support for Mr Moore has infuriated Thailand - both the government and the people - which considers itself a close ally of Washington.

Mr Moore has a natural instinct for politics and the kind of communication skills that Dr Supachai allegedly sometimes lacks.

The WTO job undoubtedly needs someone with people skills who can broker compromises and knock heads together when necessary.

But the Kiwi, sometimes dubbed ''Mad Mike,'' is perhaps not an ideal candidate either.

One New Zealand newspaper said he was treated by his parliamentary colleagues with a ''confusing mixture of amusement and respect".

Mudslinging tactics

Some of his campaigning tactics have also enraged his opponents.

In an interview with Television New Zealand, he said that Dr Supachai's party travelled around in a fleet of Mercedes Benz while his own aides relied on humble taxis.

Mr Moore added mischievously: "We were staying in a hotel where we could touch both walls.

"I'm not complaining, we're Kiwis. We do it our way and we do it in a modest way, and there are those who find that quite touching and attractive that there are still people on earth who don't travel with private secretaries and valets."

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |

The Economy Contents

Internet Links

WTO biopic of Mr Moore

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Inquiry into energy provider loyalty

Brown considers IMF job

Chinese imports boost US trade gap

No longer Liffe as we know it

The growing threat of internet fraud

House passes US budget

Online share dealing triples

Rate fears as sales soar

Brown's bulging war-chest

Oil reaches nine-year high

UK unemployment falls again

Trade talks deadlocked

US inflation still subdued

Insolvent firms to get breathing space

Bank considered bigger rate rise

UK pay rising 'too fast'

Utilities face tough regulation

CBI's new chief named

US stocks hit highs after rate rise

US Fed raises rates

UK inflation creeps up

Row over the national shopping basket

Military airspace to be cut

TUC warns against following US

World growth accelerates

Union merger put in doubt

Japan's tentative economic recovery

EU fraud costs millions

CBI choice 'could wreck industrial relations'

WTO hails China deal

US business eyes Chinese market

Red tape task force

Websites and widgets

Guru predicts web surge

Malaysia's economy: The Sinatra Principle

Shell secures Iranian oil deal

Irish boom draws the Welsh

China deal to boost economy

US dream scenario continues

Japan's billion dollar spending spree