Wed. Nov 4th, 2020
‘Her political approach is needed’– European Parliament endorses Okonjo-Iweala for WTO job


The European Parliament (EP), the legislative branch of the
European Union (EU), has endorsed Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the position of
director-general (DG) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Okonjo-Iweala is a two-time former minister of finance and
Nigeria’s candidate for the WTO DG job.

Sven Simon, member of the European Parliament (MEP), in a
tweet on Wednesday, announced the decision of the parliament after a discussion
with Okonjo-Iweala and Yoo Myung-hee, South Korea’s candidate for WTO job.

The parliament picked Okonjo-Iweala above Myung-hee, saying the
Nigerian showed a deep understanding of challenges faced by the WTO and her
priorites, if appointed, exhibited a “clear-eyed agenda.”

EP said it came to a conclusion that Okonjo-Iweala’s
political approach is necessary to tackle the deal disagreements  between members of the trade organisation.

“Her assessment of the existing problems of the organisation
revealed a deal understanding of the fault lines dividing the WTO’s
membership,” the statement read

“The priorities she set out for her first steps after being
being appointed reveal a clear- eyed agenda, tackling head on key topics such
as special and differential treatment, industrial subsidies and dispute
settlement reform, while recognising the need for positive momentum through the
conclusion of agreements on issues such as fisheries, e-commerce, and health.

“We were also impressed with her call for opening up the WTO
to more cooperation with other international institutions and parliaments, a
key source for the legitimacy and accountability that is needed now more than
ever to increase acceptance of international trade among the world’s
population.

“Her focus on the empowerment of women, delivering on the
Sustainable Development Goals and value- based trade are all key properties
that also align with the EU’s global priorities.

“We also appreciated the energy with which she is likely to
approach her new role. It appears to us that her political approach is what is
needed now to resolve the key questions at the organisation, which are not
managerial but require high-level political agreement between key global
decision makers.

“Okonjo-Iweala appears to be well- equipped for being the
fair broker which could bring key players together and help them find the
compromises that will be needed to resolve the WTO’s complex set of challenges
and the deal disagreements between its members.

“We therefore very much hope that the EU will be able to
support Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy during the last round.”

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