October 30. According to Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao, the selection of the new WTO Director-General has encountered twists and turns.
The WTO Selection Committee had reached a consensus on October 28 to recommend Nigerian candidate Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, but the United States indicated that it did not support the appointment. This means that the WTO may need to vote for the director general.
At present, most countries in the European Union, Japan, Africa, and Latin America have all expressed their support for Oconcho-Iweala. But because of all WTO decisions, 164 member states need to reach a consensus. Therefore, the WTO may need to pass an unprecedented vote to determine the new director general.
On the afternoon of October 28, local time, WTO spokesperson Keith Rockwell announced that considering that Oconjo-Iweala has gained more support, the “three-person team” decided to designate him as the new director general. The final recommendation.
However, the Office of the United States Trade Representative later issued a statement indicating that the United States supported the South Korean candidate Yu Myung Hee, calling him a suitable candidate to lead the WTO “at this very difficult time.”
According to reports, US Trade Representative Lighthizer has always supported Yu Mingxi. The news pointed out that Lighthizer believes that Oconjo-Iweala has long served in the World Bank and has close relations with internationalists who support trade; there are also voices that Oconjo-Iweala lacks experience and knowledge in multilateral trade negotiations. .
Rockwell said that WTO members will hold a general council meeting on the selection of the director general on November 9, and hopes to make a decision on the final candidate for the director general by then. If Okonjo-Iweala is finally appointed, she will become the first woman and the first African Director-General in the 25 years since the establishment of the WTO.
In August 2020, Azevedo, the former director-general of the WTO, resigned, ending his term a year earlier. The selection process for the new Director-General started as early as June. A total of 8 candidates were formally nominated, and the final recommendation was Okonjo-Iweala. Analysis believes that if the United States sticks to its own views, it is likely to aggravate trade tensions.
According to previous media reports, Okonjo-Iweala had served as Minister of Finance and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, during which he demonstrated reform courage and clever negotiation skills. She also worked for the World Bank for 25 years and served as the Executive Vice President. Currently, she serves as the chairman of the board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.