Reference News Network reported on October 30, Reuters reported on Geneva on October 28 that after the United States rejected a Nigerian woman as the next director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the global trade watchdog chose a new leader On the 28th, his efforts fell into uncertainty.
Trade is a hot topic in the current US election. And just six days before the election, Washington once again attacked the WTO, which was described by US President Trump as “hateful” and favored by China.
The Trump administration has paralyzed the organization’s role as a global trade arbitrator by obstructing the selection of new members by the WTO’s Appellate Body. Now, it may leave the organization without a leader in the coming weeks or months.
The WTO has scheduled a meeting on November 9, which is less than a week after the US election, and hopes to win all support for Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala by then.
However, this decision requires unanimous approval, which means that any one of the 164 members of the WTO can block her appointment.
After several weeks of negotiations, the three WTO ambassadors responsible for finding the successor of the Brazilian Roberto Azevedo announced at a meeting held here on the 28th that the former Nigerian finance minister should become the next director-general. Because she has received cross-regional support.
WTO spokesperson Keith Rockwell told reporters after this closed-door meeting: “All delegations expressing views today expressed very strong support for this process, the’three-person team’ and the selection results. Except for one country.” He specified that this country is the United States.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative subsequently issued a statement stating that it officially supports Yu Myung Hee, the only candidate other than Ngozi Okonjo-Iweara, the Minister of Trade and Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, and praised her as a successful trader Negotiators have the skills needed to lead this trade organization in “very difficult times.”
The statement said: “It must be led by someone with practical experience in the field.” This may be a mockery of Okonjo-Iweala, the Nigerian candidate who was accused by critics of lacking technical knowledge in multilateral trade negotiations.
William Reinsch, a former senior official of the US Department of Commerce and now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies of the United States, said that the US move is likely to exacerbate already tense trade relations within the WTO.
He said: “This is a typical Trump style. Their basic meaning is,’We do whatever we want, and if we are not satisfied, we are willing to make trouble.'” He also said that this may be for other disputes. To win concessions.
A spokesperson for Okonjo-Iweala said that she was “extremely humble” for her support of the WTO Selection Committee and hoped to end this process as soon as possible.
The next move is uncertain, but the WTO spokesperson Rockwell said that before the November 9 meeting, there is likely to be “crazy activity” to ensure that the necessary consensus is reached.
It is not clear whether the results of the US election will affect the US’s position on the appointment of Oconjo-Iweala. By then, Trump may lead a “lame duck” government.
Before the 28th, many WTO members, including China and the United States, refused to publicly express their inclination, but some countries in Africa, the Caribbean and other regions expressed their support for Oconjo-Iweala during the four-month selection process. The European Union expressed its support for her on October 26.
After Azevedo left his post a year early at the end of August, the post of WTO Director-General was vacant. The WTO is currently led by 4 Deputy Director-Generals.
Hostile economies are arguing and escalating tensions, and the trade plummet caused by the new crown epidemic has intensified protectionism. Okonjo-Iweala, 66, who was Nigeria’s finance minister and World Bank executive vice president, will face huge challenges .
Okonjo-Iweara, a development expert who calls herself a “doer”, said she has the political power to exert influence over governments.
Okonjo-Iweala, currently chairman of the Council of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, also said that the WTO should play a role in helping poorer countries obtain new crown drugs and vaccines.