Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Makes Final Stage of WTO Race

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The World Trade Organisation(WTO) selected its top two candidates- Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigeria) and Yoo Myung-hee(South Korea) yesterday to move to the third and final stage of consultation process scheduled to begin later this month until November 6th before a winner emerges. The Geneva-based trade body will have a female director for the first time in twenty years.

Yoo is South Korea’s trade minister and noted for expanding her country’s trade network through bilateral pacts with the United States, the United Kingdom and China in her 25-year career in government while (Dr.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was a two time Minister of finance, a foreign affairs minister, a former managing director of the World Bank and Chairman at Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.

In the second stage, the United Kingdom’s Liam Fox, Kenya’s Amina Chawahir Mohamed Jibril, and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri did not secure enough support to make it to the final round.

They’re both very well qualified, it is going to be a fight, said William Reinsch, a trade official in the Clinton administration and senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The top challenge would be restoring the organisation to full strength and viability restoring its reputation. You need members to have confidence that the WTO is capable of solving problems. I think right now that confidence is eroded- David Walker, WTO General Council Chairman.

President Donald Trump had earlier attacked the WTO as the worst trade deal in US history and had vowed to restore it to better suit the country’s interests.

The vacancy for the top WTO job ensued when Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo decided to step down at the end of August, a year before his term was due to end.


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