As the race for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organization intensifies, three candidates have been dropped by the body, however, Nigeria’s representative, Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala still remains.
The WTO which plans to further reduce the contestants to a final two in the coming weeks disclosed that Mexico’s Jesus Seade, Egypt’s Hamid Mamdouh, and Moldova’s Tudor Ulianovschi didn’t secure enough support in a first of three rounds of voting.
The remaining contenders are all current or former ministers, something that trade officials had previously said was an important characteristic for the next Director general. They are: Nigeria’s former Finance Minister and former Managing Director of the World Bank, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Saudi Arabia’s former Minister of Economy and Planning, Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri; U.K.’s former Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox; South Korea’s Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee; and Kenya’s former International Trade Minister, Amina Chawahir Mohamed Jibril.
The second phase of consultations will commence on September 24 and run until October 6 after which the WTO would announce two final candidates.
Okonjo-Iweala and the 4 other contenders will present themselves to the members of the global trade body for the later stages of voting in the hopes of securing the highest number of votes to succeed the current DG, Mr. Roberto Azevêdo.
Afterwards, a new Director-General that will spearhead the affairs of the WTO will be announced by November 7th, 2020.
The vacancy offers an opportunity for the U.S., the European Union and other nations to reshape the organization, whose mission of economic integration is under threat from protectionist policies around the globe. Without reform, it risks being side lined during the biggest economic crisis in a century.