Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala proposed as new WTO chief

Geneva, Oct 29 : Nigeria's former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been proposed to become the new Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Spokesman Keith Rockwell told a media briefing on Wednesday that a key group of three WTO Ambassadors, the so-called "troika", proposed Okonjo-Iweala as the new head of the Geneva-based organization in a closed-door meeting, assessing that the candidate "had the best chance of attaining the consensus of the membership", Xinhua news agency reported. However, "one delegation could not support the candidacy of Ngozi and said they would continue to support South Korean Minister Yoo. That delegation was the US", Rockwell said. The "troika" consists of the chairs of three major WTO committees -- the General Council (GC), the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), and the Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB). They put forward a shortlist after every round of consultations with WTO members until the third and final one, which ran from October 19- 27. Since early October, Okonjo-Iweala had been facing off against the other female candidate, South Korea's Minister for Trade Yoo Myung-hee, in the final round of race to become the new WTO chief. Okonjo-Iweala's candidacy will be put for endorsement at a WTO General Council meeting on November 9. The WTO's leadership vacancy was created after its former chief Roberto Azevedo stepped down on August 31, a year before the end of his official term. The organization is currently being steered by four deputies. /IANS


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