Friday, 16 April, 2021

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Okonjo-Iweala: WTO Postpones Meeting To Pick New DG


The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is post-poning a meeting next week where members were to try to pick a new director-general.

There is almost no chance of succeeding in picking a new chief after Washington blocked the favoured candidate, Nigeria’s former fi- nance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

The WTO’s 164 member states had been due to gather on Monday to choose between two remaining candidates to head the crisis-wracked organisation.

But the head of the selection committee, set up to help with the process, told members Friday the meeting would need to be postponed, according to AFP.
“It has come to my attention that for reasons including the health situation and current events, delegations will not be in a position to take a formal decision on November 9,” general council chair, David Walker, said in a communication seen by AFP.

“I am, therefore, postponing this meeting
until further notice during which period I will continue to undertake consultations with del- egations,” he added.

The WTO selection committee, known as the troika, has held months of consultations with members towards finding a replacement for Ro berto Azevedo, who in August stepped down as director-general a year ahead of schedule.
of eight candidates, the troika last week tapped Nigeria’s former finance minister as the one most likely to obtain the needed consensus to take the helm.

But hopes that the final stage would be a simple rubber-stamping exercise were dashed when one country, the United States, announced it was intent on backing South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee instead.

The US announcement threw the WTO leadership hunt into uncertainty.

Credit: Leadership

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