Ngozi Okonjo-iweala in Geneva to campaign for WTO job

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s candidate to head the World Trade Organization has urged U.S. President Donald Trump or his successor not to leave the Geneva-based body.

She said reforms were possible.

Washington has been a regular critic of the WTO and is along with other members is urging reforms to its 25-year-old global trade rule book.

It has also blocked appointments to its top appeals court, paralysing its functions.

However, despite Trump’s plans to leave another Geneva-based body, the World Health Organization, over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. government sources say his administration remains committed to reforming the WTO, not abandoning it altogether.

“Surely it’s not the time now to leave a WTO that matters. We need an institution that can promote a rules-based system…,” Okonjo-Iweala told a news briefing when asked for her message to the current U.S. president or any future one.

“Don’t leave now. Let’s try to fix what needs fixing.”

Okonjo-Iweala is one of eight candidates competing to become the trade watchdog’s next leader and has been taking questions from the WTO’s 164 members in Geneva this week.