U.S. tells WTO it cannot endorse Nigerian leadership candidate

GENEVA (Reuters) - A key group of WTO ambassadors has proposed Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to be the next head of the World Trade Organization, a WTO spokesman said on Wednesday, but the United States said it could not endorse her.

The recommendation, confirming news earlier reported by Reuters, needs clearance from all 164 WTO members. If appointed, the former Nigerian finance minister would become the first woman and African to head the global trade watchdog in its 25-year history.

The WTO spokesman said that her candidacy would be put to a General Council of the WTO on Nov. 9 for endorsement and that there was likely to be “frenzied activity” before then to secure the required consensus.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Philip Blenkinsop