US Opposes Appointment Of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala As WTO’s Director General
United States has reportedly opposed the appointment of Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as the new Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) by consensus, despite cross-regional support for her.
According to a Bloomberg report on Wednesday, Donald Trump’s administration said it won’t back the appointment of Okonjo-Iweala.
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, Dennis Shea, reportedly said this during a meeting of WTO delegates in Geneva, according to the Bloomberg’s report.
The report said;
All WTO decisions are taken by a consensus of its 164 members, which means the U.S. move will act as a veto that disrupts the process.
A WTO official said work would continue to reach a consensus ahead of meeting of the General Council tentatively set for Nov. 9.
The new development comes shortly after Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former finance minister, received a key endorsement on Wednesday from the WTO selection committee, which moved her a step closer to becoming the WTO’s first female and first African director-general.
Shea said the US disagreed with the way in which the process was being carried out.
If it’s not possible for the general council to agree on a consensus candidate, WTO members can consider the possibility of recourse to a vote as a last resort by a procedure to be determined at that time.
Okonjo-Iweala was moving closer to victory in her bid to become the next DG of WTO earlier on Wednesday.
According to reports from key officials at Geneva, Switzerland, which is the headquarters of WTO, the former Minister of Finance, had gained more support to overtake her rival, South Korea’s Ms Yoo Myung-hee.
WTO itself in a recent tweet stated;
The WTO is on the verge of getting its first female Director-General, we celebrate the Women Pioneers of the Organization.
These women have made significant contributions to the WTO and have shaped int’l trade as we know it.
In honour of the WTO’s 25th anniversary, and as the WTO is on the verge of getting its first female Director-General, we celebrate the Women Pioneers of the Organization. These women have made significant contributions to the WTO & have shaped int’l trade as we know it. #WTOat25 pic.twitter.com/sjzb5bTaPQ
— WTO (@wto) October 19, 2020
A key group of WTO ambassadors had proposed Okonjo-Iweala as the next chief, however as it stands, any such decision requires a consensus among the 164 WTO members, including US. This means without any of them, her appointment could be blocked.