Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) might suffer a setback as the United States called for reopening of the WTO election despite majority of WTO members supporting Okonjo-Iweala.
Okonjo-Iweala had toppled eight other candidates, including South Korea’s trade minister, Yoo Myung Hee, who has the support of the US. It was gathered that the US want a candidate that has trade experience, which Okonjo-Iweala doesn’t have.
Although, Okonjo-Iweala had defended her lack of trade experience, stating that her experience as deputy at World Bank and being a negotiator makes her fit for the WTO Director-General position – but US trade representative, Robert Lighthizer disagrees.
The WTO needs “someone with real experience in trade, not someone from the World Bank or a development person.” Lighthizer said in a BBC report. This is despite Okonjo-Iweala receiving support of 110 WTO members out of 164 member countries.
Lightizer said, “I think there’s a consensus developing at the WTO that we need the appellate body reform.” adding that, “We need to start negotiating again, we need to start making headway. So I’m glad you brought up the WTO, it’s been clearly a focus for us and to us its an organisation that started off as a good idea and basically isn’t functioning very well, but I think that can be sorted out also.”