By Lizzy Okoji
The United States of America under President Joe Biden has affirmed its support for Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as Director-General of the Word Trade Organisation (WTO).
The office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) disclosed this in a statement made available by the U.S Mission in Nigeria on Saturday.
The Biden-Harris administration expressed its support for Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance following the withdrawal of Korea’s Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee as candidate for same position.
It would be recalled that past U.S President Donald Trump had blocked Okonjo-Iweala’s chances of becoming director-general of the organisation.
“The U.S takes note of today’s decision by the Republic of Korea’s Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee to withdraw her candidacy for Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
“The Biden-Harris administration is pleased to express its strong support for the candidacy of Okonjo-Iweala as the next Director General of the WTO.
“Okonjo-Iweala brings a wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy from her 25 years with the World Bank and two terms as Nigerian finance minister.
“She is widely respected for her effective leadership and has proven experience, managing a large international organisation with a diverse membership.
“The Biden-Harris administration also congratulates Minister Yoo Myung-hee on her strong campaign for this position.
“She is a trailblazer as the Republic of Korea’s first female trade minister and the first candidate from Korea to advance this far in the DG selection process.
“The U.S respects her decision to withdraw her candidacy from the director general race to help facilitate a consensus decision at the WTO,” the statement read.
The statement noted that It was particularly important to underscore that two highly qualified women made it to the final round of consideration for the position of WTO D-G.
This, it added, was the first time that any woman had made it to this stage in the history of the institution.
The U.S expressed commitment to stand ready to engage in the next phase of the WTO process for reaching a consensus decision on the WTO D-G.
“The Biden administration looks forward to working with a new WTO Director General to find paths forward to achieve necessary substantive and procedural reform of the WTO,” it said. (NAN)