Friday, March 24, 2023

United States endorses Ngozi Iweala as WTO DG

This is the first time in WTO’s history that a woman would be director-general.

• February 5, 2021
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Credit: Twitter)
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Credit: Twitter)

Barely 24-hour after the withdrawal of a major contender Yoo Myung-hee, the United States has thrown its weight to support Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next Director-General of the World Trade Organization(WTO).

Peoples Gazette reported that Korean trade minister Yoo Myung-hee pulled out from the race, describing her withdrawal as an agreement between the United States and world trade body.

Her withdrawal leaves Mrs Iweala, former Nigerian finance minister, as the only candidate for the job. 

The Biden-Harris administration on Friday announced through the office of the trade representative the decision to support Mrs Iweala, ending months of impasse within the world trade union. 

“Biden-Harris Administration is pleased to express its strong support for the candidacy of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next DG of WTO.”

Mrs Iweala was praised for her 25 years of experience in economics and international diplomacy, saying her effective leadership has proven her experience in managing a large International Organization with a diverse membership.

“It is particularly important to underscore that two highly qualified women made it to the final round of consideration for the position of WTO Director General — the first time that any woman has made it to this stage in the history of the institution.

“The United States stands ready to engage in the next phase of the WTO process for reaching a consensus decision on the WTO Director-General.  The Biden-Harris Administration looks forward to working with a new WTO Director-General to find paths forward to achieve necessary substantive and procedural reform of the WTO.”

The appointment of the Director-General of the WTO is achieved by a consensus of the General Council, a tradition that made it difficult for the announcement of a substantive head despite the approval of council members in October 2020 but for the objection of the United States. 

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