Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s ambition to become the new Director-General of the World Trade Organization has suffered setbacks as the US said it will not recognize Okonjo-Iweala as the consensus candidate for appointment as director-general.
The United States representative at World Trade Organization took to the floor to insist that South Korea’s candidate remained a contender, and that Washington will not recognize Okonjo-Iweala as the consensus candidate for appointment as director-general.
In response to this, the General Counsel has postponed its announcement of the new Director-General until a further meeting, which is scheduled for 9 November; after the US presidential elections.
A panel at the WTO had earlier announced Okonjo-Iweala to be the new DG before the glitch hatched by the US ensued.
A win for Okonjo- Iweala at the WTO would signal a tremendous boost for Africa and lines her up for one of the toughest jobs in the international system.
She had won the support from the vast majority of member states, including the EU, Japan and China, her home continent of Africa but not the United States, which now moves to stop her from becoming the new boss at the WTO.
Okonjo-Iweala has proven to be an influential figure in the international stage but her contender for the WTO job, South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee, is no also a powerful woman with distinctive credits to her vault.
Yoo Myung-hee is the current Minister for Trade of South Korea. She is the first woman to hold the position. Over the past 25 years, she has worked in various government agencies since she passed the Korean state civil servant exam in 1991. She now battles Okonjo-Iweala for the position of the Director-General of the World Trade Organization.
In a missive, which was sent on Sunday, the U.S. State Department directed some of its local embassy officials in a diplomatic cable to gauge whether their host country supports selecting South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee to be the next director general of the World Trade Organization.
However, it’s far from certain that U.S. support for Yoo would be enough to determine the outcome of the contest, as Okonjo-Iweala holds more member states in her favour.