U.S. Statement on the Appointment of New Director General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

General Council Meeting
Appointment of Director General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Delivered by David Bisbee
Chargé d’affaires ad interim, U.S. Mission to the World Trade Organization

February 15, 2021

On behalf of the United States, it is my pleasure to warmly welcome and congratulate the first woman and the first African Director General of the WTO, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has promised that under her leadership it will not be business as usual for the WTO, and we are excited and confident that she has the skills necessary to make good on this promise. Her wealth of knowledge and experience in critical pillars of economics, trade, and diplomacy will bring a welcome boost to the efforts underway to reform and revitalize the WTO. Indeed, it will require a masterful blend of all these skills to navigate 164 Members to consensus.

The United States is eager to work with Dr. Okonjo-Iweala to ensure this institution lives up to its full potential as a body that promotes equitable economic growth through trade, and supports our common efforts to meet current and future global challenges.

We also look to her extensive experience in organizational management and leadership to continue to support the modernization of the organization, and we ask her to care for and look after the highly skilled and dedicated Secretariat staff that WTO Members rely so heavily upon to carry out our work and achieve our goals.

The United States is committed to working closely with Director General Okonjo-Iweala and she can count on the United States to be a constructive partner.

The United States would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Ambassador Walker, Ambassador Castillo, and Ambassador Aspelund for all of their hard work and efforts to successfully manage the selection process that brought us here today for this historic conclusion.

And we also extend our appreciation to Deputy Director General Agah, Deputy Director General Brauner, Deputy Director General Yi, and Deputy Director General Wolff for their continued dedication to managing the organization during this extended period.

Thank you.