The US trade chief Robert Lighthizer has implied that the process to find the next World Health Organisation (WTO) director-general should be re-opened.
In Lighthizer’s first ever international interview, he told the BBC on Wednesday that the next WTO director-general should be ”someone with real experience in Trade.”
Lighthizer goes on to say that the WTO “is massively in need of reform”.
The comments suggest US rejection for Nigerian candidate, ex-finance minister Ms Okonjo-Iweal, despite other wide-spread international support for her candidacy.
The WTO has been without a leader since Roberto Azevedo resigned from the post in August.
The other finalist for one of the top jobs in international trade is South Korea’s trade minister Yoo Myung-hee.
“We need to start negotiating again, we need to start making headway. So I’m glad you brought up the WTO, it’s been clearly a focus for us and to us its an organisation that started off as a good idea and basically isn’t functioning very well, but I think that can be sorted out also,” Lighthizer concluded.
If a new WTO director-general is not appointed before Joe Biden’s inauguration as US President on 20 January, it is likely the process will be delayed for several months.