Liam Fox had been backed by the Prime Minister and International Trade Secretary Liz Truss to become the next director of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
But the WTO announced that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria and Yoo Myung-hee of South Korea had made it through to the final round of the contest to become the organisation’s next director-general, with Mr Fox and two other candidates eliminated.
The former Cabinet minister said in a video statement: “I’m proud to have been nominated by the Prime Minister as the UK’s nominee for the position of director-general of the World Trade Organisation.
“Of course I am naturally disappointed not to be continuing further in this contest.
“It’s been an honour to take part in the selection process over the last few months, to make the arguments on the international stage that are critical to the future of the global trading system, such as renewed commitment to the multilateral rules-based system and about economic empowerment and sustainable development.”
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Liam Fox ran a strong campaign and he is a passionate advocate for free trade.
“The PM wishes him all the best for the future.
“The UK looks forward to working with the successful WTO candidate. We will continue to make the case for WTO reform and help to deliver on the transformation we all want to see.”