The EU's Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan has withdrawn his name from consideration for the position of head of the World Trade Organisation.
In a statement this morning, Mr Hogan said the important EU trade agenda requires full and careful involvement of the European Union and in particular, the Trade Commissioner.
"Accordingly, I have decided that I will not be putting my name forward for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation," he said.
"I have informed the President of the Commission today. In consultation and approval of President Von Der Leyen, I will return to my duties of Trade Commissioner with immediate effect.
"We will work together to implement our important work programme on behalf of our EU Citizens as well as implementing our Trade Agenda with renewed vigour."
Mr Hogan pointed to the post-Covid-19 economic recovery and the escalation of trade rhetoric between the EU and the US as reasons to remain in his current position.
"Can I express my gratitude to President Von Der Leyen for her generous advice and support throughout the evaluation of my potential candidacy for the WTO Director-General. I am grateful to the Irish Government and in particular, former Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar for agreeing to nominate me. I have also considered carefully the views of Heads of Government and Trade Ministers in reaching this decision."