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.

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