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Saturday, February 6, 2021

U.S Backs Okonjo-Iweala for Director-General of WTO


Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala


U.S Backs Okonjo-Iweala for Director-General of WTO

The United States present administration has finally announced its endorsement of former World Bank executive, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the Director General role at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

This was disclosed in a statement by the office of trade representatives of the United States.

Mrs Ngozi became the only candidate vying for the position when on Friday 5th February, her last challenger, South Korean Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee pulled out of the race.

The South Korean Minister, Ms Yoo admitted through a press statement from Korea’s trade ministry that the decision to withdraw from the race was made after discussions with the United States and other major nations.

Recall that the World Trade Organization members last year voted Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and Ms Yoo to the final stage of the trade body’s leader selection process. Mrs Okonjo-Iweala was the obvious favorite until the Donald Trump led administration denied her their support, which stopped what would have been a smooth consensus.

However, the Biden-Harris administration in a released statement said:

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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