The United States Chamber of Commerce is cheering the newly confirmed head of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Nigerian economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who has the backing of China.
Okonjo-Iweala, who was opposed by the Trump administration for the top WTO spot, was supported by the Biden administration and received praise on Monday from China’s Commerce Ministry, which said they have “full confidence” in her appointment.
Former U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer previously suggested that the Trump administration did not support Okonjo-Iweala because of her lack of experience with trade issues — the core function of the WTO.
“We need a person who actually knows trade, not somebody from the World Bank who does development,” Lighthizer told the Financial Times last year.
The Chamber of Commerce praised Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment to lead the WTO in a statement. The Chamber’s Myron Brilliant said:
The U.S. Chamber congratulates Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, whose appointment comes at a critical time for the WTO. The U.S. business community strongly supports the WTO, and we are committed to backing efforts by the U.S., other member states, and Dr. Okonjo-Iweala to reinvigorate this vital institution.