The United States of America might not be endorsing Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy to lead the World Trade Organisation, Tropics NigeriaReporters has gathered.
This comes as a setback for Okonjo-Iweala despite obtaining American citizenship in 2019, thereby becoming a dual citizen of Nigeria and the US.
Meanwhile, the European Union has maintained its support for Okonjo-Iweala to become the Director-General of the WTO.
Experts now believe that the EU and US, who have historically agreed on decisions like these, may clash.
A top official privy to the candidacies race informed Tropics NigeriaReporters that Okonjo-Iweala’s opponent, Yoo Myung-Hee of South Korea, has the upper hand to receive the backing of the United States.
While the backing is yet to be made official, the source affirmed that President of the US, Donald Trump, has said he will be backing a known person whom he has worked with.
The United States’ trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, has worked with Myung-Hee and is believed to prefer her candidature.
Okonjo-Iweala is likely to also receive the endorsement of China, Brazil and Japan even though that is yet to happen.
The officials stated that the US would be officially announcing its preferred candidate on November 7, 2020.
Okonjo-Iweala, who is yet to be announced winner of WTO, contrary to reports in the social media, is promoting the multilateral trading system, which the WTO has always leaned on, while the Trump administration has favoured bilateral trades.
She also wants to see increased access to drugs and vaccines in developing countries.
In addition to promising to return global trade to its multilateral legacy, Myung-Hee is proposing to use her 30-year experience in trade and diplomacy to smoothen US-China relations.
There are 164-member countries in the WTO and a consensus candidate has to be chosen before an announcement can be made.
Founded in 1995 to replace the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the WTO is the only global international organisation dealing with the rules of trade among nations.
Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.