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Okonjo-Iweala is 1st woman, African to lead world trade body

World Trade New Head
Posted at 3:45 PM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 15:45:02-05

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The 164 countries of the World Trade Organization on Monday approved Nigerian economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the body's new head.

She is the first woman and the first African to lead the Geneva-based organization.

Okonjo-Iweala said her first priority would be ways to combat COVID-19, which includes lifting export restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines and supplies in many countries, The Associated Press reported.

U.S. President Joe Biden's administration endorsed her after the Trump administration had opposed her.

Supporting her is part of Biden's vow to re-engage in multilateral organizations instead of Trump's "America first" approach.

But there are still thorny disputes to resolve.

That's especially true when it comes to the WTO's appeals process, where the U.S. has said the WTO unduly restricts U.S. trade measures against other countries perceived to be engaging in unfair trade.

Okonjo-Iweala will take on her new role on March 1.