By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has said it will continue to engage relevant stakeholders to ensure the emergence of Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
This was disclosed through a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ferdinand Nwonye, in a statement released on Thursday in Abuja.
He noted that the third and final round of the selection process for the director-general of the global trade organisation was concluded on Tuesday and the result was formally announced the day after.
The spokesperson added that Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, a former Minister of Finance, had gotten the support of the majority of the member countries but explained that she was yet to be declared and returned the winner because all the 164 member states of the organisation were expected to adopt the winner by consensus.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that the third and final round of the selection process of the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) was concluded on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, and the result was formally announced on Wednesday, October 28, 2020.
“The candidate from Nigeria, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has secured the support of the majority of the member countries but is yet to be declared and returned the winner.
“This is because apart from winning the election, all the 164 member states of WTO were expected to adopt the winner by consensus, in accordance with the rule of procedure of the WTO,” he noted.
The WTO’s bid to elect a new leader was thrown into uncertainty following the rejection of the former minister by the United States.
The US, critical of the WTO’s handling of global trade, wants Mrs Okonjo-Iweala’s rival, South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee, saying she could reform the body.
In a statement, the Office of the US Trade Representative, which advises President Donald Trump on trade policy, said the organisation “must be led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field”.
Ms Yoo had “distinguished herself” as a trade expert and “has all the skills necessary to be an effective leader of the organisation”, the statement said.
It added: “This is a very difficult time for the WTO and international trade. There have been no multilateral tariff negotiations in 25 years, the dispute settlement system has gotten out of control, and too few members fulfil basic transparency obligations. The WTO is badly in need of major reform.”
Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and Nigeria are hopeful as they await a meeting scheduled for November 9 for the final decision on the election process.
On Wednesday, a WTO nominations committee recommended the group’s 164 members appoint Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She would be the first woman and first African to lead the WTO.
Post Views: 106