US endorses Okonjo-Iweala for WTO top job

The United States on Friday endorsed Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former finance minister, to become the next director-general of the World Trade Organisation.

The endorsement, which came hours after South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee withdrew her candidacy, draws Okonjo-Iweala closer to clinching the top job.

The endorsement was contained in a statement by the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

The US said it had noted the decision of Myung-hee to withdraw her candidacy and expressed pleasure to strongly support Okonjo-Iweala’s bid to become the next head of the WTO.

“The United States 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 Organization (WTO),” the statement said.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is pleased to express its strong support for the candidacy of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next Director General of the WTO. 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 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 Director General selection process. The United States respects her decision to withdraw her candidacy from the Director General race to help facilitate a consensus decision at the WTO,” it said.

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