Donald Trump’s trade chief Robert Lighthizer told the BBC on Wednesday that the WTO needs “someone with real experience in trade”.
The doubling down on the rejection of Ms Okonjo-Iweala, despite widespread support from other countries, escalates one of the most pressing global trade issues Joe Biden will have to solve as US President.
President Trump’s top official on trade, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s remarks on Wednesday to the BBC in his first international interview confirm that there is no way the Trump administration will be persuaded to back the Nigerian ex-finance minister in its remaining weeks in office.
The impasse at the WTO comes at a sensitive time for global trade, which has suffered because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala insists she is the right person for the job and has the right experience with both trade and delivering reform.
Her spokesperson told the BBC: “Dr Okonjo-Iweala looks forward to engaging with the Biden administration and is hopeful that final consensus can soon be reached. The WTO urgently needs to get to work at this time of global crisis.”