Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the newly appointed Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has revealed four issues she intends to tackle and things she hopes to achieve within her first 100 days as WTO DG.
Okonjo-Iweala said her targets include a successful Ministerial Conference (MC12) that’s meant to meet at least once every two years. Her achievement within 100 days is dependent on the successful meet of the MC12.
According to Okonjo-Iweala, her targets are low hanging fruits that are within reach, such as the completion of Fisheries subsidy negotiations, which she said has been dwelled on far too long.
She made this known during her virtual press conference on Monday, following her appointment as WTO DG. Okonjo-Iweala said sealing an agreement on Fisheries subsidy negotiations is vital to global economy.
“Fisheries subsidy negotiations, I think there’s a very strong chance to complete it, which has been going on for 20years. It is far too long, we need to be accountable to end these negotiations, and end them well. Because they are very important for the world. It means sustainability for our fisheries in our ocean.”
She also mentioned ensuring a work programme for dispute settlement mechanism that would solve dispute among 164 members of WTO, and revealed that she will push her ideas to MC12.
“I’m trying to set forward a part way, a work programme, a set of reforms that can be agreed and pushed forward at MC12.” Okonjo-Iweala said, adding separately that, “I’m not saying solving it, just agreeing a work programme.”
Also on her to-do list for the first 100 days is finding a lasting solution to COVID-19 and other future pandemic in order not to be unprepared for the next breakout virus, “Working on solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, a longer term framework in response to pandemic.
“And I think WTO should get to work with other international organisations like WHO, Gavel, Sapy, even the World Bank and IMF, and all those multilaterals, to try to set the rules, so that next time, we don’t spend time to try to figure out how to respond.”
Okonjo-Iweala said she will also look into digital economy and ecommerce negotiations, “The digital economy and ecommerce negotiations are very dear to my heart.
“Reason is that I just see the blossoming of SMEs using online platforms to trade and improve their life, so I want us to see if we can make progress in that area.” Okonjo-Iweala said during the conference monitored by Ripples Nigeria.
By Fakoyejo Olalekan….
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