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WTO job: Competition gets stiffer for Okonjo-Iweala as UK presents candidate

WTO job: Competition gets stiffer for Okonjo-Iweala as UK presents candidate
July 08
18:04 2020
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The UK government has confirmed that it would nominate Liam Fox (pictured), a former cabinet member, to contest for the World Trade Organisation director-general position.

Liz Truss, the UK trade secretary, disclosed this in a tweet on Wednesday.

Fox, who served as UK secretary of state for international trade from 2016 to 2019 and secretary of state for defence between 2010 and 2011, also announced his candidature.

“I am honoured to have been nominated by the prime minister to be a candidate to lead the World Trade Organization. I believe that if we want to keep the WTO relevant and vibrant our task is clear: update, strengthen, and reform. We must ensure that global trade works for everyone.” he wrote.

The UK government said it believes Fox is the right candidate because he is an advocate of multilateralism who is committed to advancing the WTO and rules-based trading system.

“He believes that rules-based free trade underpins global prosperity and security and that the benefits must be widely shared for all citizens and countries,” it said.

If his nomination is accepted by the WTO, Fox would be the eighth candidate.

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a contender for the WTO job.

Other candidates are Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri of Kingdom from Saudi Arabia, Amina Mohamed from Kenya, Yoo Myung-hee from Korea, Tudor Ulianovschi from Moldova, Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh from Egypt, and Jesús Seade Kuri from Mexico.

Nominations close by 5pm on Wednesday, July 8.

Countries in the EU have previously signalled that they would prefer to back a candidate from Africa and Okonjo-Iweala is considered to be a strong candidate given her work experience which includes being managing director (operations) at the World Bank.

Roberto Azevedo, the current WTO DG, announced that he is stepping down a year before the end of his second term.

The WTO has been in a difficult situation with complaints from the US government about being treated unfairly.

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