Paving the way for the first African woman to lead the WTO

The path became a bit clearer on Friday for Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to become the first Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), provided the new Biden administration gives him his blessing.

The only other candidate for the post still running, South Korea’s Commerce Minister Yo Myung-hee, officially placed his bid on Friday.

South Korea’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement, Ms. Yoo consulted with the United States, who was the main supporter of Donald Trump, and decided to leave her capitals and “her candidacy.”

Nigerian candidates ”will not be automatically nominated. The election requires a consensus, meaning that the United States follows the consensus ”, however, a European diplomat enraged the AFP in Geneva as in charge of trade, stating that the Korean candidate had The retreat suggested that this is exactly what is happening.

The situation of the former Trump administration has pushed the process into stalemate

Especially since Ms. Yu outlined her exchange with Washington in a press release announcing her decision.

The process to appoint a successor to Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo a year before his term ends due to family reasons has been on a deadlock since the collapse.

The succession committee announced on October 28 that the best candidate to achieve consensus was a Nigerian, who was himself a Dr. Nozzy says.

In addition to being the first woman to become the head of the World Trade Organization, she will be Africa’s first Director General. But the United States, under President Donald Trump, supported Ms. Yu, the first woman to serve as trade minister in her country, arguing that she had 25 years of experience in the field of trade.

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Dr. Nozi Okonzo-Iweala did not claim victory. She said she was waiting for the end of the selection process, stating that “the World Trade Organization should shift its focus towards the Kovid-19 epidemic and the global economic recovery,” said her spokesperson.

A European diplomat welcomed this news

“We salute the responsible spirit of this decision. This is good news for multilateralism. There is nothing in the way of members appointing the Nozi Okonjo-Iweala Nigerian candidate too early to win the selection process, ”he told AFP.

“With the encouragement of its new director general, the World Trade Organization will be able to consider its negotiations on fisheries subsidies and to prepare for its 12th ministerial conference in 2021”, he stressed.

And in fact there is no dearth of files to get the WTO out of its semi-existential crisis.

The next head of the institution will face an economic crisis, but in the virtue of a crisis of confidence in multilateralism and the liberalization of world trade, against the backdrop of a trade war between all major world economic powers, China and the United States.

Radio silence from Biden administration

In mid-October, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said that he wanted to show himself two priorities that the World Trade Organization needed. She wants to be able to present an agreement on fisheries subsidies at the organization’s next ministerial conference – which is currently at a standstill – to demonstrate that the World Trade Organization can still produce multilateral progress. The other priority is to rebuild the dispute settlement body – the WTO Tribunal – which was torpedoed by the Trump administration and is brain dead. “I am a candidate for reform,” he said again.

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At the moment, Joe Biden’s administration has not said whether it will support Nigerian candidacy and that future trade representative Catherine Tai has not been heard or confirmed by the US Congress to be able to take the reins of international policy policy . Of America

WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell, for his part, said that “South Korea has not yet indicated what it will do in terms of supporting Ms. Ngazi”.

The WTO is to have its General Council meeting for 1 and 2 March, but the spokesperson insisted that this schedule could be expedited if necessary.

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