Peter Mandelson is stepping down from his position as EU trade commissioner to become Labour’s business minister in the UK. His replacement, Catherine Margaret Ashton, has been a midlevel minister in various UK governments. Emmanuel notes that she’s relatively unknown, comparing her to Sarah Palin (now that’s a bit unfair, I think).
Richard Baldwin notes that most of the people working on the round won’t be around much longer:
By the time the new American administration is in place, Dame Ashtonâs term at the commission will be up. By late 2009 the US and EU will be restarting negotiations with fresh talent and limited institutional memory. That’s reason enough to be pessimistic, but if the WTO does not renew the term of Pascal Lamy, its director-general, next year (or if he doesnât want another term), then it may be time to kiss this round goodbye.