Despite wide support for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s candidate for the director-general of the World Trade Organisation, WTO, the United States has expressed its opposition to her emergence.
Okonjo-Iweala had on Wednesday cleared a major hurdle when she secured a major support of the “troika”, added to an earlier support from 104 of all 164 member countries of the WTO.
Those countries include many in Africa and the European Union, where she had received public support.
Despite being an American citizen, sources say the US does not consider Okonjo-Iweala as being committed enough to the interests of the world power at the flagship trade body.
The Bloomberg had initially reported that the US was leaning towards Yoo Myung-hee, the South Korean candidate though its report was not clear whether the super-power was giving support to the Korean.
Bryce Baschuk, Bloomberg’s WTO reporter, also tweeted on Wednesday that the US is opposed to Okonjo-Iweala’s emergence and the road forward remains “unclear”.
Baschuk had on Tuesday, 20th October, noted that an impasse is not all that shocking, but there is a significant deficit of trust at the WTO. “In August a disagreement between the United States, China and the European Union prevented members from agreeing to appoint an interim DG.”
The heads of delegation of the WTO are to meet by 3pm Wednesday to decide on the way forward.
Unlike the World Bank where the US has a larger voting power than other countries, the WTO is run differently, by the consensus of every member country.
“The WTO is run by its member governments. All major decisions are made by the membership as a whole,” the WTO website reads.
“In this respect, the WTO is different from some other international organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
“Where consensus is not possible, the WTO agreement allows for voting — a vote being won with a majority of the votes cast and on the basis of ‘one country, one vote’.”
The Bloomberg had reported that the US and Europe were heading for a clash over their preferred candidates to lead the WTO as the selection of the first woman to run the referee of global commerce enters a pivotal phase.
The medium had also reported that the European Union whereas the Trump administration was leaning toward South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee.
Meanwhile, China’s preference and those of other major economies like Brazil and India remain unclear.