Most European Union member states have continued to express their support for Nigeria ’ s former finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo – Iweala , as the next director- general of the World Trade Organisation .
The BBC also reported on Wednesday that the WTO ’s ambassadors have backed Okonjo -Iweala for the position .
If the former managing director of the World Bank finally clinches the position , she would be the first woman and the first African to lead the WTO .
However, the WTO ’ s effort to select a new leader by consensus hit a brick wall on Wednesday after the United States vetoed the move towards consensus . Deputy US Trade Representative , Dennis Shea , said Washington won ’ t join a consensus to appoint Okonjo -Iweala because the US supported her opponent , South Korean trade minister, Yoo Myung- hee , according to WTO spokesman , Keith Rockwell.
According to Bloomberg , US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, had pushed for Yoo even though Okonjo – Iweala gained American citizenship in 2019 .
Sources close to him told Bloomberg that he viewed Okonjo – Iweala, a longtime top official at the World Bank, as being too close to pro- trade internationalists like Robert Zoellick, a former USTR from the Bush administration, who worked with her when he was president of the Washington – based bank .
WTO ’s major decisions are made by a consensus of its 164 members .
This means that a single country, especially the world ’ s largest economy, can create a stalemate to pressure others.
The Geneva- based institution would keep working to reach a consensus ahead of the meeting of the General Council tentatively set for November 9 , Bloomberg reported