Categories: World

WTO to be run by woman, first time in 25 years


In the history of 25 years of its existence, WTO will get its first woman director-general.

According to The Guardian, the World Trade Organization (WTO) will now be run by a woman. There are two leading female contenders for the top position.

The final contest is between South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee and Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. It became clear when the only remaining male candidate Liam Fox failed to make it to the last shortlist.

Fox is Britain’s former international trade secretary. He couldn’t garner enough backing despite the support from the US.

Initially, five candidates were running for the post of director-general.

Meanwhile, the announcement of the winning female contender for this job will arrive next month.

Both Yoo and Iweala are deserving due to a good track record in their respective fields.

The final candidates and their profiles

Speaking of Yoo Myung-hee, she’s been in the government works for 25 years now. She has also worked on many bilateral trade deals, including those with the US and the UK.

Okonjo-Iweala has served as Nigeria’s finance minister for two terms. She was also her country’s foreign minister. Being the number two in the World Bank, she’s mostly an outsider for the WTO job.

If she succeeds in holding the position against Yoo, the trade organization will have a totally new face.

When interviewed last month about the post and its relevance, she said:

“Indeed, I am not a WTO insider, but that’s a good thing. We need someone who knows trade but brings a fresh pair of eyes.”

She also said that the organization now needs something else. And that is strong political skills and an individual who can substantively engage leaders.

New WTO head to face tough challenges amid the COVID-19

After selecting the new boss, it’s evident that there will be new challenges as well. Due to the COVID-19 and its irresistible impact on global trade, the situation has become worse.

According to WTO’s own expectations, there will be a huge 9.2 percent drop in trade flows this year.

And even in 2021, there’s only a small chance of improvement.

Plus, there’s the ongoing trade battle between the US and China, gradually affecting the entire world.

Apart from these challenges, WTO also failed to complete the Doha round of trade liberalization talks.

On top of that, Washington also refused to allow judges’ appointment to the disputes appeals panel of WTO. It will affect the organization’s ability to police the trade on a global scale.

Image courtesy of Faiz Zaki/Shutterstock

MK Tomar

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MK Tomar

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