The new Joe Biden administration has said the U.S. would support Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The US government made this known on Friday, February 5, just few hours after South Korea’s trade minister stepped out of the race. The Biden administration’s decision is the last hurdle standing in the way of Okonjo-Iweala heading the WTO, after South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee pulled out.
Recall last year, Okonjo-Iweala was supported by a majority of WTO members, but the Trump administration backed Ms. Yoo instead, saying she was better candidate.
The statement from the office of the U.S. Trade Representative read: “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 statement added.
The USTR continued, “looks forward to working with a new WTO director-general to find paths forward to achieve necessary substantive and procedural reform of the WTO.”
If things go well, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is set to become the first woman and the first African to ever head the Geneva-based trade body.