The new director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, says she was shocked to learn that the US administration led by D
At her first press briefing shortly before she was announced as the WTO DG, Okonjo-Iweala said she had two interviews with the Trump administration and there was no indication of opposition.
“I think I was quite surprised when that came at the decision-making meeting because there had been no indication previously that there was any problem with the US. I had had two very good interviews with the authorities in the administration. So it was a surprise. But you know, that is the way life works and when things happen, you take them in your strides and move on,” Okonjo-Iweala said.
Okonjo-Iweala had garnered the support of 162 countries out of the total 164 states that make up the WTO. But at the decision-making meeting, the US said the WTO is in dire need of reform and must be “led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field”.
The world power put its weight behind South Korea’s Yoo Mhung-Hee, whom it referred to as a bona fide trade expert.
“It was absolutely wonderful when the Biden-Harris administration came in and broke that logjam, joined the consensus, and gave me such a strong endorsement,” she added.
Okonjo-Iweala who would become the first female and first African to lead the WTO said she feels a burden not to disappoint Africans and women across the world.
She will assume office on March 1, 2021 for a tenure that ends in August 2025.