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9th March 2021
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US Back Okonjo-Iweala’s Candidacy For WTO Top Job

US back Okonjo-Iweala's candidacy as Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This comes after the U.S backed and Republic of Korea's Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee stepped down
US Back Okonjo-Iweala's Candidacy For WTO Top Job

US back Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy as Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This comes after the U.S backed and Republic of Korea’s Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee stepped down her candidacy for the WTO top job on Friday.

The United States expressing its ‘strong support’ for the Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy for the WTO top job, was expected, as their favoured candidate Yoo Myung-hee, which they have been backing for the post, especially under the then President Donald Trump administration, stood no chance.

The United States, under the Trump’s administration favouring Yoo with other countries including China and European Union Backing Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy, complicated the decision-making process since the selection of a new leader requires all WTO members to agree.

Okonjo-Iweala, an economist and former finance minister of Nigeria, enjoyed broad support from WTO members, including the European Union, China, Japan and Australia, leaving out the United States, until now.

In a statement released late Friday 5th February 2021, by the office of the United States Trade Representative, said the newly elected President of the United States, Joe Biden is pleased to express his strong support for the Okonjo-Iweala candidacy for the WTO top job.

The full 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.

Dr. 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-Harris 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 particularly important 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-Harris 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”.

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