The WTO has notified its member states that the board meeting on the 16th to 17th will not include the election of the next director-general as an issue. It is a foregone conclusion to leave it to the conclusion next year. The vacancy of WTO leaders will continue for nearly half a year.
According to relevant sources, the main reason is that the Trump administration of the United States opposes the election of Nigerian candidates who are supported by many member states. This attitude has not changed. The WTO will hold a board meeting after the inauguration of US President-elect Biden on January 20 next year to strive to elect a director general.
In late October of this year, the WTO recommended Oconjo Iweala, the former Minister of Finance of Nigeria, supported by Japan, China, and the European Union (EU), as the next Director-General. However, the United States opposed it and expressed support for Yu Myung Hee, the head of trade negotiations at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. Yu Mingxi also showed no intention of withdrawing from the election for director general. The matter is deadlocked.
The Trump administration of the United States, which called for WTO reforms, elected the acting director general to confront the countries when the former director general Azevedo left office at the end of August. The WTO believes that this posture is hopeless during Trump’s administration and will temporarily shelve this issue until Biden takes office.
The regular meeting at the beginning of next year is scheduled to be held in February. Although it is also possible to convene a meeting focused on the topic of selecting the Director-General, it seems that the WTO will first wait and see what the new US government will do.
The selection of the WTO Director-General adopts the method of inquiring the opinions of the member states by the board of directors and others to narrow the scope of candidates. Although it can also be decided by voting, the WTO attaches great importance to the formation of consensus, so there is no precedent.