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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

European Parliament endorses Okonjo-Iweala WTO DG candidacy

By on October 22, 2020 0 263 Views

By GFDNews correspondent

The European Parliament has endorsed Nigeria’s candidate Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s quest to become the next Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

In a letter signed by the Co-chairs of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO Steering Group, Bernd Lange and Sven Simon, the EU Parliament said it screened the two remaining race and was convinced that the Nigerian candidate has the ‘energy’ and is ‘well-equipped’ for the job.

Both Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria and Yoo Myung-hee of South Korea are the two candidates left in the race started by eight from five countries.

The Parliament said it was satisfied with Okonjo-Iweala’s level of requirements and skills and therefore, urged the European Union to express support for the candidacy of the former World Bank Managing Director.

“On 19 October, the EP’s Steering Group of the Parliamentary Conference on the World Trade Organisation organised exchanges of views with the two remaining candidates for the role of Director-General of the WTO.

“On this occasion, both candidates gave us an extensive account of their plans for the future of the organisation and the approach they would choose in order to deal with the crises that are currently threatening the multilateral trading system.

“Both candidates are extremely experienced, well qualified and knowledgeable, and have their own clear visions for the WTO’s future and priorities, and the Director-General’s role in shaping it, as well concerning the important role for parliamentarians in that future.

“During the discussions, we appreciated, in particular, the vision that Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala presented for tackling the substantial challenges the organisation is facing.

“Her assessment of the existing problems of the organisation revealed a deep understanding of the fault lines dividing the WTO’s membership.

“The points she set out for her first steps after being appointed to the position reveal a clear-eyed agenda, tackling head-on key topics such as special and differential treatment, industrial subsidies and dispute settlement reform while recognising the need for positive momentum through the conclusion of agreements on issues such as fisheries, e-commerce, and health.

“We also appreciated the energy with which she is likely to approach her new role. It appears to us that her personal approach is what is needed now to resolve the key questions at the organisation.

“Dr Okonjo-Iweala appears to be well-equipped for being the fair broker who could bring key players together and help them find the compromises that will be needed to resolve the WTO‘s complex set of challenges and the deep disagreements between its members.

“We, therefore, very much hope that the EU will be able to support Dr Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy during the last round,” the parliament wrote in the letter titled; ‘EP Exchanges of Views with WTO Director-General candidates.’

Okonjo-Iweala, 66, scaled through the first two stages of screening and emerged among the last two candidates out of eight initial nominated for the position.

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