- "The United States takes note of today’s decision by the Republic of Korea’s Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee to withdraw her candidacy for Director General of the World Trade Organization."
- ''The Biden-Harris Administration is pleased to express its strong support for the candidacy of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next Director General of the WTO.
- At the end of October 2020, Okonjo-Iweala emerged as the most popular candidate to serve as Director-General of the WTO.
Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is all set to be the new director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This is after she received the support of the United States, which had initially thrown it’s support behind the South Korean candidate who however finally officially withdrew her candidature on Friday.
”The United States takes note of today’s decision by the Republic of Korea’s Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee to withdraw her candidacy for Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO),” said the United States Trade Representation (USTR) in a press release.
”The Biden-Harris Administration is pleased to express its strong support for the candidacy of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next Director General of the WTO.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala brings a wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy from her 25 years with the World Bank and two terms as Nigerian Finance Minister.
She is widely respected for her effective leadership and has proven experience managing a large international organization with a diverse membership,” added the USTR.
At the end of October 2020, Okonjo-Iweala emerged as the most popular candidate to serve as Director-General of the WTO; however, the United States refused to endorse her at the time.
The United States reported then that it was supporting the only finalist competitor in this process, South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee.
Consequently, with the turnaround of events and subsequent confirmation this Friday by the US of it support of her, the former Nigerian Finance Minister and former World Bank second in command is all set to be the first woman to lead the WTO.
The United States said it is willing to participate in the next phase of the WTO process to reach a consensus decision on the WTO Director-General.
The US through a statement further added that the Biden-Harris Administration looks forward to working with a new WTO Director-General to find ways forward to achieve the necessary substantive and procedural reform of the WTO.
A total of 164 member economies in the WTO are tasked with electing the new Director-General by consensus.
Okonjo-Iweala’s recommendation was made by three WTO ambassadors, the so-called “troika”, after consulting with members in a series of closed-door meetings in Geneva.
During this process, these three ambassadors, the presidents of the WTO General Council (David Walker), the Dispute Settlement Body (Dacio Castillo) and the Trade Policy Review Body (Herald Aspelund) act as facilitators.
In the first instance, Okonjo-Iweala obtained the support of the European Union and later that of China.
The WTO is the most important trade forum in the world, being the only institution that deals with the rules that govern international trade between countries, through a multilateral framework of disciplines that establish the principles of liberalization, as well as the flexibilities allowed. Its main function is to ensure that trade operates as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.