WTO now set for first Female Chief as U.S. endorses Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala


President Joe Biden’s administration has offered its “strong support” to Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO) after her strong contender, South Korean trade minister Yoo Myung-hee has abandoned her bid.

The move marks another sharp split with former president Donald Trump who paralyzed the organization and opposed the former Nigerian finance minister who was backed by many other countries.

The US Trade Representative in a statement said “Dr. Okonjo-Iweala brings a wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy,” the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in a statement Friday. “She is widely respected for her effective leadership and has proven experience managing a large international organization with a diverse membership.”

The USTR added it “looks forward to working with a new WTO director-general to find paths forward to achieve necessary substantive and procedural reform of the WTO.”

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With the U.S. now joining a consensus, WTO general council Chairman David Walker is expected to soon announce a meeting in Geneva, where the organization’s members will formally approve Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment to a four-year term as director-general.