Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Trump’s US not supporting her candidacy as WTO chief

By Bayo Onanuga with agency reports

Donald Trump’s United States is playing the spoiler in rejecting the candidacy of Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next World Trade Organisation leader.

According to reports by Reuters, the US told a meeting of the WTO on Wednesday that it does not back Okonjo-Iweala as the next WTO leader.

This was despite cross-regional support for her and the fact that Okonjo-Iweala is also an American citizen.

Africa and the European Union, China and Latin America are in support of the Nigerian candidate.

US stance could undermine the global trade body as it seeks to select a successor to director general Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down in August.

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A key group of WTO ambassadors had proposed Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next chief.

However, any such decision requires a consensus among the 164 WTO members, meaning any of them could block her appointment.

At a meeting of the WTO in Geneva today, the General Council Chair David Walker reported the results of the consultations to appoint the next chief.

After the meeting WTO spokesperson Keith Rockwell summed up the announcement by GC Chair Walker.

“The candidate that had the best chance of attaining a consensus of the membership is Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria.

“Consultations on the way forward will start immediately”, he said

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The WTO would formally meet on 9 November, after the US election to ratify Okonjo-Iweala as the next WTO director-general.