WTO DG: Nigeria to Engage Relevant Stakeholders to Scale US Stunt over Okonjo-Iweala’s Nomination

FG says Nigeria will continue to involve relevant stakeholders to guarantee the emergence of Dr Ngozi Okono-Iweala as the succeeding Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.

The assurance was contained in a statement released on Thursday, 29 October from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, signed by Ferdinand Nwonye its spokesperson.

The statement read in part,’’ The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that the third and final round of the selection process of the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) was concluded on Tuesday, 27th October 2020 and the result was formally announced on Wednesday, 28th October 2020.

The candidate from Nigeria, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has secured the support of majority of the member countries but is yet to be declared and returned the winner.

This is because apart from winning the election, all the 164 Member States of WTO were expected to adopt the winner by consensus, in accordance with the rule of procedure of the WTO.

It is important to highlight that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has secured cross-regional backing with only the United States opposing the consensus.

The Ministry wishes to further inform that a meeting of the General Council of the WTO has been scheduled for November 9, 2020, for the final decision on the election process.

Nigeria will continue to engage relevant stakeholders to ensure that the lofty aspiration of her candidate to lead the World Trade Organization is realised.’’

And walking back to the journey that has now peaked, commenced with the stepping down of Roberto Azevedo as WTO Director-General in August, a year ahead of schedule.

The initial pool of eight candidates for the WTO’s top post had been whittled down to just two over two previous rounds of consultations, with only Okonjo-Iweala and South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee still in the race.

Key World Trade Organisation (WTO) ambassadors on Wednesday tapped Nigeria’s nominee, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as the best pick to lead the organization, but she was opposed by the United State of America (USA), which said it supported South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee instead.

Washington already said it was opposed to her candidacy, casting doubt on whether she can obtain the necessary full backing from member states.

In a statement late Wednesday, the US Trade Representative’s office expressed support for Yoo, calling her “a bona fide trade expert who has distinguished herself during a 25-year career as a successful trade negotiator and trade policymaker.

“She has all the skills necessary to be an effective leader of the organization,” the statement said. “The WTO is badly in need of major reform. It must be led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field.”

But notwithstanding the multiple support for the candidacy of Okonjo-Iweala, the WTO’s 164 member states still need to determine whether they will support her before their next General Council meeting on November 9.

 

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