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The World Trade Organisation Could have its first African Woman Secretary General

Following the resignation of the WTO’s 6th Secretary General in August the search has been on for a replacement. Two candidates faced off in October – both women (a first for the WTO), one from South Korea, and Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a past Finance Minister from Nigeria. Over 100 of the 167 member countries of the WTO supported Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, but the USA has called for a formal decision at the upcoming Ministerial meeting in November. Due to Swiss lockdown rules the WTO can only hold online meetings and now the USA has vetoed any decisions taken at virtual meetings, meaning that the decision on the appointment will probably be postponed until early 2021. The USA favours the Korean candidate who it feels will be more sympathetic in the present US-China trade war. The delay will also weaken the WTO, which would be welcomed by Trump’s White House.

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Alastair Tempest

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