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Nigeria’s candidate in the race for the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is in a pole position to clinch the top job as the seventh head of the global trade group despite opposition from the world’s largest economy, the U.S.
US holds up Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala appointment as WTO Director-General

The U.S. has insisted on South Korea’s candidate for the WTO position.

Nigeria’s candidate in the race for the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is in a pole position to clinch the top job as the seventh head of the global trade group despite opposition from the world’s largest economy, the U.S.

On November 9, the WTO General Council, which is the highest decision-making body of the WTO after the Ministerial Conference, is scheduled to ratify the report of the WTO DG selection panel (Troika), which overwhelmingly identified Mrs Okonjo-Iweala as the candidate preferred by most of the members of the group to head the organisation.

Since Tuesday, local and international media have been awash with reports announcing Mrs Okonjo-Iweala as the winner of the election.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, a former Managing Director (Operations) of the World Bank, was reported to have emerged the preferred candidate for the WTO top office after reports emerged in Geneva that she garnered the overwhelming backing from the vast majority of WTO member-countries, including the European Union, Japan and China.

A source, who sits in the WTO General Council, told PREMIUM TIMES that the United States was the only strong opposition to Mrs Okonjo-Iweala’s confirmation during the WTO Head of Delegation meeting held on Wednesday.

The meeting held in Geneva was convened for the sole purpose of allowing the Troika to present the results of the last round of consultations with member-countries in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the selection process.

The source, who requested that his identity should not be disclosed as he was not authorised to speak on the issue, said the Troika presented Mrs Okonjo-Iweala as the preferred candidate to succeed the outgoing Roberto Azevêdo.

On May 14, Mr Azevêdo, a Brazilian diplomat and the Executive Vice President and Director of Corporate Affairs at PepsiCo, announced his decision to step down as Director-General of the WTO on August 31, one year before his term would expire.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala’s presentation to the august body on Wednesday was based on the overwhelming support she secured from members in the last round of the DG-WTO selection process.

Consequently, she was presented as the candidate most likely to gain consensus as DG-WTO over her only remaining opponent and South Korea’s former Minister of Trade, Yoo Myung-hee.

South Korea's Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee bids to lead WTO
The final General Council meeting of 2019 takes place at the WTO |  Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN Office and other International  Organizations in Geneva

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