United State authorities have given their reasons for supporting South Korea’s trade minister Yoo Myung-hee for the role of director-general of the World Trade Organisation over Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Office of the United States Trade Representative in a statement on the selection of the next World Trade Organization Director-General, insisted that “the United States supports the selection of Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee as the next WTO Director-General” because she is better suited for the post
“This is a very difficult time for the WTO and international trade,” US said in support of Yoo Myung-hee who it believes ” has all the skills necessary to be an effective leader of the organization.”
“WTO is badly in need of major reform” because there “There have been no multilateral tariff negotiations in 25 years, the dispute settlement system has gotten out of control, and too few members fulfill basic transparency obligations.”
The needed reforms for the WTO, the US said, “must be led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field.”
US’s support for Yoo Myung-hee, according to reports is the only obstacle Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala from becoming the first African to lead the WTO.
AFP reported that key WTO ambassadors tapped Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Wednesday as the best pick to lead the organisation, but she was opposed by Washington, who said it supported Yoo Myung-hee instead.
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 left in the race.
The global trade body is thus set to be led by a woman for the first time whichever of the two final candidates succeeds in their bid to follow Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down as WTO director-general in August a year ahead of schedule.
Okonjo-Iweala, a former Nigeria finance and foreign minister expressed confidence earlier this month that she would be the successful candidate.
“I feel the wind behind my back,” she told a virtual press briefing after the 55-member African Union officially supported her. She subsequently got the endorsement of the European Union for the coveted WTO DG role.