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Updated: Okonjo-Iweala makes final list of 5 candidates for WTO top job

Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has been named among the final five candidates who will proceed for the next stage of the race for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) job. Okonjo-Iweala is vying for the position of the director-general of the WTO.

The five candidates who advanced to the next stage are Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria; Yoo Myung-hee of the Republic of Korea; Amina C. Mohamed of Kenya; Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijiri of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; and Liam Fox of the United Kingdom.

The World Trade Organization dropped three candidates out of eight from the race to be the next Director-General of the body.

“Throughout the six days of consultations it was clear to us that the entire membership is both committed to and fully engaged in this process,” David Walker of New Zealand, General Council Chair said.

“Members consider all (the candidates) highly qualified and respected individuals. I would also like to pay tribute to the dignified manner in which they, their delegations, and their Governments have conducted themselves in this process. Their willingness to engage, especially at these challenging times, has been greatly appreciated, and the Organization is in their debt. Their expertise and high professional and personal qualities are highly valued and respected by all Members. I am sure I speak on behalf of all of you in wishing them well in their future endeavours,” he said.

The second phase of consultations will begin on September 24, and run until October 6. During this time, members will be asked in the confidential consultations to express two preferences to the facilitators with an eye to bringing the number of candidates from five to two.

Following this process, Amb. Walker will call another Heads of Delegations meeting at which the results will be announced to the WTO membership. The timetable for the third and final round of consultations will be announced at that time.

The ultimate objective of this measured and clearly defined process is to secure a consensus decision by members on the next Director-General.

The General Council agreed on 31 July that there would be three stages of consultations held over a two-month period commencing 7 September. During these two months the number of candidates would be reduced from eight to five and then two before a consensus is reached on which of the candidates becomes the WTO’s 7th Director-General. In trimming the roster of candidates from eight to five, WTO members have concluded the first of these consultative stages.

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