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WTO: Uncertainty as United States rejects Okonjo-Iweala appointment

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President Moon Jae-in speaks with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the phone at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Oct. 27 2020 in this

The initial pool of eight candidates for the WTO's top post had been whittled down to just two over two previous rounds of consultations, with only Okonjo-Iweala and Myung-hee left in the race.

But the U.S. said it supported South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee, who is Okonjo-Iweala's opponent in the race to lead the WTO.

The United States of America has opposed the candidacy of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala-Iweala as head of the World Trade Organisation, instead backing South Korea's Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee, for the position of Director-General.

Our reporter further gathered that Okonjo-Iweala polled 104 votes from 164 member countries to defeat Myung-hee of South Korea in the final stage of the race for the worldwide job.

With this victory, Okonjo-Iweala has become the first female DG of the WTO in the institution's 25-year-history.

Rockwell said that 27 delegations had taken the floor during Wednesday's meeting.

Former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is at the presidential villa, Abuja for a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

But the WTO's 164 member states still need to determine whether they will support her before their next General Council meeting on November 9.

Three WTO ambassadors, the "troika" charged with finding a successor to Mr Azevedo, had decided that the Nigerian candidate should be the next chief as she had secured wide cross-regional backing.

Many members, including China and the United States, had declined to name their preference publicly before Wednesday although some African, Caribbean and other states had voiced support for Okonjo-Iweala.

The organization also is coping with a crippled dispute settlement system after the USA blocked the appointment of several judges to its Appellate Body, accusing the court of overreaching and over-interpreting WTO agreements.

Okonjo-Iweala's experience as chair of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, a Geneva-based public-private partnership aimed at increasing access to immunization in poor countries, will help guide one of her first tasks: facilitating a trade mechanism for COVID-19 vaccines.

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