World Trade Organisation (WTO) Postpones Naming New DG

World Trade Organization (WTO) has postponed naming of new director-general, adding that the scheduled for Monday November 9 has been delayed for l further consultations between member States on the issue. The decision means it is possible that the trade body will complete the year without appointing a substantive head.

The Geneva-based Organisation, that is concerned with the regulation of international trade between nations has announced that it had put off a meeting scheduled for Monday that had been called to appoint Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as its next director general.

David Walker, the New Zealand envoy to the WTO and who chairs the General Council, said the meeting of ambassadors scheduled for November 9 will be delayed “until further notice” and allow member states to consult.

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Walker had on October 28 announced that Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had been the candidate “best placed to attract consensus support” compared with South Korea’s

The contest to find a new leader of the World Trade Organization has been thrown into uncertainty after the cancellation of a key appointment meeting following the US presidential election.

Donald Trump’s administration had opposed her selection in one of its final acts before the US election, despite the former Nigerian finance minister securing the overwhelming backing of the organisations 164 members.

Okonjo-Iweala had moved a step closer to becoming the first woman and the first African to be director of the global trade watchdog after securing backing from the EU, China, Japan and Australia.

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Trade experts said Joe Biden defeating Trump in last week’s election may have led to countries calling for a delay in the WTO leadership race, with the aim of securing the Biden White House’s backing for Okonjo-Iweala after he takes charge in January 20th, 2021.

The delay in selecting a new WTO director general comes at a fragile moment for the world economy amid the second wave of Covid-19, and after years of criticism of the WTO and calls for reform from Trump.


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