The United States of America has refused to back Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next head of the World Trade Organization despite the former finance minister of Nigeria winning the overwhelming backing of the WTO’s 164 members.
The US has instead rejected the recommendation by a WTO nominations committee to back Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who would be the first woman and first African to lead the WTO.
The US, wants another woman, South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee, saying she could reform the body. In a statement, the Office of the US Trade Representative, which advises President Donald Trump on trade policy, said the organization “must be led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field”.
“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, however, did not mention Ms Okonjo-Iweala.
This new development delays the decision on the process until after the US presidential election next week. The process requires all WTO members to reach a consensus, rather than involving a formal vote.
Trump has in the past described the WTO as “horrible” and biased towards China,
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