Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former minister of finance, says she was surprised that the administration of President Donald Trump could substitute her way of leading the planet Trade Organisation (WTO).
At a press briefing monitored by Daily Trust, the new Director-General of WTO said she didn’t see it coming.
She said she felt she had an honest understanding of the United States government which interviewed her about the work twice.
“I think I used to be quite surprised when that came (opposition from Trump) because there was no indication that there was any problem with the US.
“I had two good interviews with the authorities and with the administration so it had been a surprise. But that’s the way life works. When things happen, you’re taking them in your stride and you progress on.
“It was absolutely wonderful when the Biden/Harris administration broke that logjam. They joined the consensus and gave such a robust endorsement to my candidacy. They joined the opposite 163 members to endorse my candidacy,” she said.
Us government had last week announced its endorsement of Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala for the highest job.
It became clear earlier on Friday that Okonjo-Iweala, a former International Bank for Reconstruction and Development executive, would clinch the coveted post after her final challenger, South Korean Trade Minister and candidate, Yoo Myung-hee, announced her withdrawal.
Although 163 member countries had elected Okonjo-Iweala in October, the US under Trump was critical of WTO’s handling of worldwide trade, saying South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee could reform the body.
The four-month selection process for subsequent WTO director-general hit a roadblock when Washington said it might still back South Korea’s trade minister.
The US had said WTO “must be led by someone with real, hands-on experience within the field”.
“Ms. Yoo has distinguished herself as a trade expert and has all the talents necessary to be an efficient leader of the organization.
“This may be a very difficult time for the WTO and international trade. There are no multilateral tariff negotiations in 25 years, the dispute settlement system has gotten out of control, and too few members fulfill basic transparency obligations. The WTO is badly in need of major reform,” said the office folks Trade Representative, which advises Trump.