WTO postpones crucial Director-General selection meeting indefinitely

By Backend Office, Desk Reporter
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The intergovernmental organization managing global trade relations, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has decided to postpone its upcoming General Council special meeting to decide on the next Director-General indefinitely.

In his note to all WTO members, General Council Chair David Walker of New Zealand stated that “It has come to my attention that for reasons including the health situation and current events, delegations will not be in a position to take a formal decision on November 9.”

“I am therefore postponing this meeting until further notice during which period I will continue to undertake consultations with delegations,” the WTO General Council Chair added.

Earlier at a Heads-of-Delegation meeting, Mr. Walker briefed his fellow WTO members that after comprehensive consultations with every stakeholder within the body, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria was found to be the candidate best poised to attain consensus and become the next Director-General.

“She clearly carried the largest support by members in the final round and she clearly enjoyed broad support from members from all levels of development and all geographic regions and has done so throughout the process,” The WTO official remarked.

The now postponed November 9 General Council meeting was chosen as the occasion on which the formal decision on the matter was to be taken by the members.

WTO’s general consensus on the next chief was challenged by the United States which continues to support South Korea’s Minister for Trade Yoo Myung-hee for the position.

If selected, Okonjo-Iweala would become the first woman and African to head the global trade watchdog in its 25-year history.

The WTO’s leadership vacuum was created after its former chief Roberto Azevedo stepped down on August 31, a year before the end of his official term. The body is currently being managed by four deputies.