I was Interviewed by Trump’s Admin Twice Before Blocking my WTO Bid – Okonjo-Iweala

ngozi okonjo iweala wto trump

Incoming DG of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said she had two interviews with the Trump’s administration and there was no indication of opposition.

Okonjo-Iweala, a former finance minister in Nigeria, said this during her first press briefing at the WTO.

“I think I was quite surprised when that came at the decision-making meeting because there had been no indication previously that there was any problem with the US,” Okonjo-Iweala said.

“I had had two very good interviews with the authorities in the administration. So it was a surprise. But you know, that is the way life works and when things happen, you take them in your strides and move on.”

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Okonjo-Iweala had garnered the support of 162 countries out of the total 164 states that make up the WTO. But at the decision-making meeting, the US said the WTO is in dire need of reform and must be “led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field”.

The world power put its weight behind South Korea’s Yoo Mhung-Hee, whom it referred to as a bona fide trade expert.

“Minister Yoo is a bona fide trade expert who has distinguished herself during a 25-year career as a successful trade negotiator and trade policymaker.  She has all the skills necessary to be an effective leader of the organization,” the US trade representative had said.

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The former minister of finance in Nigeria eventually got the nod from the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris administration.

“It was absolutely wonderful when the Biden-Harris administration came in and broke that logjam, joined the consensus, and gave me such a strong endorsement,” she added.

Okonjo-Iweala who would become the first female and first African to lead the WTO said she feels a burden not to disappoint Africans and women across the world.

She will assume office on March 1, 2021 for a tenure that ends in August 2025.

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