US tries to block Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to be first African WTO head

US tries to block Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to be first African WTO head
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: The appointment of Nigeria’s ex-finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been thrown into doubt after the US opposed the move.

A WTO nominations committee on Wednesday recommended the group’s 164 members appoint Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

She would be the first woman and first African to lead the organization.

But the United States, critical of the WTO’s handling of global trade, wants another woman, Yoo Myung-hee of South Korea, saying she could reform the body.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said she was “immensely humbled” to be nominated.

But the four-month selection process to find the next director-general of the WTO hit a roadblock when the US said it would continue to back South Korea’s trade minister.

The Office of the US Trade Representative said in a statement critical of the WTO that the organisation “must be led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field”. US Trade Representative advises President Donald Trump on trade policy.

The statement said ,Ms Yoo had “distinguished herself” as a trade expert and “has all the skills necessary to be an effective leader of the organisation”.

“This is a very difficult time for the WTO and international trade. There have been no multilateral tariff negotiations in 25 years, the dispute settlement system has gotten out of control, and too few members fulfill basic transparency obligations. The WTO is badly in need of major reform,” the statement added.

It did not mention Ms Okonjo-Iweala.

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