With a New Chief, the WTO Aims for a Return to Relevance

The new director-general of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, at a session of the WTO General Council in Geneva, Switzerland, March 1, 2021 (Keystone photo by Fabrice Coffrini via AP).
The new director-general of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, at a session of the WTO General Council in Geneva, Switzerland, March 1, 2021 (Keystone photo by Fabrice Coffrini via AP).
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The World Trade Organization made history last month when its members chose Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as director-general, the first woman and first African to hold that position. A former Nigerian finance minister and senior World Bank official, Okonjo-Iweala enjoyed near-unanimous support, but her candidacy had been stalled by opposition from the Trump administration. One of President Joe Biden’s early actions after taking office in January, however, was to reverse Donald Trump’s veto and join the consensus behind her appointment. That, along with Biden’s overall preference for multilateral cooperation over unilateralism, opens space for the WTO to get out of the cul […]

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