Trade Minister Tim Groser appears to have missed out on becoming the next head of the World Trade Organisation.
Reuters is reporting that candidates from Mexico and Brazil have been selected as the final two in the contest for the job of WTO director-general.
The agency quotes a diplomatic source saying Mexico's Herminio Blanco and Roberto Azevedo of Brazil are the only candidates remaining after the second of three rounds of competition to succeed Pascal Lamy on 1 September.
Mr Azevedo is Brazil's ambassador to the WTO and Mr Blanco is a veteran trade negotiator who led Mexico in the NAFTA free trade talks.
It says three other candidates, including Mr Groser, have been asked to withdraw from the race after not garnering sufficient support from the trade body's 159 members.
The candidates were told of the results in a confidential meeting at the WTO headquarters in Geneva.
Mr Groser is in Japan and has been unavailable for comment.
He has spent much of this year overseas lobbying for the WTO job, and spent $248,838 on international travel in the first quarter of the year, which is substantially more than for the same period in the previous two years.