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Influential American group – The Constituency for Africa pleads with Joe Biden to lift ”arbitrary opposition” to Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy” for DG, WTO


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January 19, 2021 The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr. President of the United States of America Dear President Biden: Congratulations on your resounding victory in the recent election. We are confident that as you assume the mantle of responsibility for America’s security, economy and overall well-being that promising days are ahead for our country and specifically for all Americans. You assume the Presidency with challenges and opportunities of historic proportions. We are pleased, however, that you have long been tested, prepared and poised for this moment. We are further comforted that you have selected a very competent team to support your cherished vision for our nation. Among the many critical matters before you and your cabinet is the leadership of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was no surprise to us that a stellar Nigerian-American, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, emerged as the consensus candidate for the position of Director-General of the WTO having won the support of the overwhelming majority of member nations, including America’s leading trading partners in the European Union. The arbitrary opposition to her candidacy from the outgoing Trump Administration in October 2020 continues to baffle trade leaders and experts around the world. In round after round of competition, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala won against her competitor for the post, South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee. The Trump Administration’s contentious practice of pitting America against multilateral alliances was in full display in this WTO race. We write to respectfully encourage you to support the candidacy of the eminently qualified Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as she seeks to become the next Director-General of the WTO. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is a dynamic woman of vision who can guide the WTO through its era of reform. She possesses a very rare combination of leadership and experience that is deeply grounded in international trade, finance, economics and diplomacy. Her selection, as the first American and woman of color to serve as the WTO’s director-general will send a clear message of inclusion to the rest of the world. Her specific qualifications: ● As an economist with degrees from both Harvard University and MIT, she has been sure-footed throughout her career in articulating a compelling, nuanced vision for the future of global trade in goods and services and the institutions that support it. ● She is a consummate diplomat seasoned in building coalitions. For example, she helped negotiate a politically delicate multilateral replenishment — on the order…

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