The United States has expressed support for the candidacy of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
In a statement from the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the U.S. said it had taken note of the decision by the Republic of Korea’s Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee to withdraw her candidacy for DG of the WTO.
“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,” the statement read.
The U.S. noted that Okonjo-Iweala brings a wealth of knowledge in economics and international diplomacy from her 25 years with the World Bank and two terms as Nigeria’s finance minister.
According to the statement, Okonjo-Iweala is widely respected for her effective leadership and proven experience managing a large international organization with 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 DG 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,” the statement said.
The U.S. said it was particularly important to underscore that two highly qualified women made it to the final round of consideration for the position of WTO DG, the first time that any woman has made it to that stage in the history of the institution.
“The United States stands ready to engage in the next phase of the WTO process for reaching a consensus decision on the WTO director-general. The Biden administration looks forward to working with a new WTO director-general to find paths forward to achieve necessary substantive and procedural reform of the WTO,” it added.