Despite wide support for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s candidate for the director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the US has reportedly expressed its opposition to her emergence.
It was reported today that Okonjo-Iweala won the popular vote by a wide margin, with the expectation of an announcement after a WTO meeting in Geneva.
The heads of delegation of the WTO met by 3pm but failed to reach a consensus.
After the meeting, Reuters reported that the US refused to support the candidature of Okonjo-Iweala, thereby protracting the process.
Bloomberg had initially reported that the US was leaning towards Yoo Myung-hee, the South Korean candidate.
It was reported on Wednesday that Okonjo-Iweala had emerged winner of the race with support from 104 of all 164 member countries of the WTO.
Those countries include many in Africa and the European Union, where she had received public support.
Despite being an American citizen, sources say the US does not consider Okonjo-Iweala as being committed enough to the interests of the world power at the flagship trade body.
Unlike the World Bank where the US has a larger voting power than other countries, the WTO is run differently, by the consensus of every member country.
“The WTO is run by its member governments. All major decisions are made by the membership as a whole,” the WTO website reads.
“In this respect, the WTO is different from some other international organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
“Where consensus is not possible, the WTO agreement allows for voting — a vote being won with a majority of the votes cast and on the basis of ‘one country, one vote’.”
The general council of the WTO will meet again to attempt a consensus or recourse to the vote.
The general council is the highest decision-making body of the WTO apart from the ministerial conference which meets every two years.