A special meeting of the WTO’s General Council will be held on 15 February 2021 to consider Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment as the WTO’s seventh Director-General.
The Office of the US Trade Representative has stated that the Biden-Harris Administration “stands ready to engage in the next phase of the WTO process for reaching a consensus decision”.
The General Council of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will meet to consider the appointment of the next Director-General, the Organization has announced. The announcement follows a statement by the Office of the US Trade Representative expressing “strong support” for the candidacy of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigeria) to lead the global trade club.
A special meeting of the WTO’s General Council will be held on 15 February 2021 in virtual format.
The statement by the Office of the US Trade Representative notes that the Biden-Harris Administration “stands ready to engage in the next phase of the WTO process for reaching a consensus decision” on the next WTO Director-General, following Yoo Myung-hee’s (Republic of Korea) withdrawal of her candidacy for the post. The US also looks forward to working to “find paths forward to achieve necessary substantive and procedural reform of the WTO.”
The Director-General selection process commenced in May 2020, following Roberto Azevêdo’s announcement that he would step down from his post on 31 August. Eight candidates participated in the race to become the WTO’s seventh Director-General. Following consultations with members, the pool of candidates was reduced from eight to five and then from five to two.
In October 2020, WTO General Council Chair David Walker (New Zealand) recommended Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment as the next Director-General as her candidacy “carried the largest support” among the WTO membership. The US initially objected to Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy but, in January 2021, indicated that the decision on the WTO’s leadership was “under active consideration in Washington.” [WTO Announcement] [Statement by the Office of the US Trade Representative]