US Backs Okonjo-Iweala WTO Candidacy

The United States has approved the former Nigeria Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the Director-General, World Trade Organization WTO.

This follows South Korea’s Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee withdrawal from the race at the weekend.

The United States revealed this in a statement from the Office of the Trade Representative. Thus, the statement reads: “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.

“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.

“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.

“The Biden-Harns Administration also congratulates Minister Yoo Myung-hee on her strong campaign for this position. She is a trailblazer as the Republic of Korea’s first female trade minister and the first candidate from Korea to advance this far in the Director-General selection process.
“The United States respects her decision to withdraw her candidacy from the Director-General race to help facilitate a consensus decision at the WTO.

“It is essential 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 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.”

Recall that on October 28, Okonjo-Iweala had secured the popular vote by a wide margin but was not named DG because the US opposed her candidacy instead of supporting Yoo, which they insisted has a wealth of experience.

Since then, the candidate naming has been obstructed when the key WTO ambassadors choose Okonjo-Iweala as the best option to lead the organization, but the Trump administration had opposed her appointment. But on February 5, 2021, she secured the support of the US for the post of director-general of the World Trade Organization under the Biden-Harns administration.

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