US finally backs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for Next WTO Director

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The Biden administration declared its “strong support” Friday for former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to serve as the World Trade Organization’s next director-general.

The decision breaks with the Trump administration’s opposition to Okonjo-Iweala and brings the U.S. in line with much of the rest of the world.

It will also allow the WTO to confirm its next leader after years of the organization’s influence being diminished due to a lack of U.S. engagement.

“Dr. 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 organization with a diverse membership,” the USTR office wrote in its statement.

Okonjo-Iweala tweeted Friday that she was “grateful for the expression of support” from the U.S. and congratulated Yoo on a “hard fought campaign.”

The WTO’s next General Council meeting is scheduled for March 1-2, but a special session to appoint Okonjo-Iweala could now be called sooner.

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