February 15, 2021


WASHINGTON D.C. - The U.S. Chamber of Commerce welcomed today’s announcement that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will become the seventh Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the first woman in the role since the organization’s creation in 1995.

“The U.S. Chamber congratulates Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, whose appointment comes at a critical time for the WTO,” said U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant. “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.”

Okonjo-Iweala is an economist and international development professional who served as Nigeria’s finance minister and as the World Bank’s managing director. Since 2016 she has been chair of the board of Gavi, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. The Chamber hosted Dr. Okonjo-Iweala and other candidates for the role in forums organized as the selection process unfolded.

“If the WTO didn’t exist, we’d have to invent it,” added Brilliant. “American businesses depend on its rules every day. It faces an ambitious agenda today as governments work to create new rules to support e-commerce and digital trade; foster innovation and protect intellectual property, including in the global response to the pandemic; and guard against a resurgence of protectionism as the world economy recovers from recession.”

“Above all,” said Brilliant, “we need to restore the WTO as a forum for meaningful trade negotiations and the settlement of commercial disputes. We’re committed to doing our part to make that happen.”