Trump trade chief wants WTO leadership race reopened

Trump trade chief wants WTO leadership race reopened
Robert Lighthizer watches as President Donald Trump signs a document in the Oval Office. Source: AFP
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Daily US Times: Donald Trump’s trade chief Robert Lighthizer has suggested that the process to find a new Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) needs to be reopened. If that happens, it would be an unprecedented move.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Lighthizer said that the WTO needs “someone with real experience in trade”.

The US opposes former World Bank economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the post

A consensus still has not been reached.

The doubling down on the rejection of Ms Okonjo-Iweala, though she has widespread support from other countries, escalates one of the most pressing global trade issues Joe Biden will have to solve as US President.

The other finalist for post is South Korea’s Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee, and the pair have been left in limbo for more than five weeks.

US Trade Representative and President Donald Trump’s top official on trade Robert Lighthizer’s remarks on Wednesday is his first international interview confirm that there is no way the Trump administration will be persuaded to back the Nigerian ex-finance minister in its remaining weeks in office.

The impasse at the world’s top trade organization comes at a sensitive time for global trade, which has suffered because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A new leader is seen as crucial for achieving meaningful change in the organization. Mr Lighthizer said the WTO “is massively in need of reform”, adding that the United States needs to “start making headway” on that process.

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