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US explains why it opposes Okonjo-Iweala’s WTO bid

THE office of the United States trade representative has issued a statement to explain why the United States is opposed to the candidacy of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria nominee for the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO, job.

The US said it supported  Okonjo-Iweala’s counterpart and opponent, Yoo Myung-hee, Korean Trade Minister as the next WTO Director-General because she is “a bona fide trade expert who has distinguished herself during a 25-year career as a successful trade negotiator and trade policy maker.”

It further stated that Yoo Myung-hee has all the skills necessary to be an effective leader of the organization.

While stating that the WTO is facing a very difficult time because of the challenges confronting it, the US said it needs to be led by someone with trade experience to drive the reforms it needs.

“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 fulfill basic transparency obligations.  The WTO is badly in need of major reform.  It must be led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field,” the statement said.

The ICIR reported on Wednesday how Okonjo-Iweala was poised to become the first woman and African to head the WTO after securing the overwhelming support of 164 members of the international trade body.

But the US has insisted that the South Korean candidate remains in the race for the DG job, as it could not build a consensus around Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy.

A spokesperson for the WTO on Wednesday said Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy would be put to a meeting of the body’s governing general council on November 9.

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