Newswire: U. S. upsets election of African candidate for top world trade post


Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Nov. 2, 2020 (GIN) – Backed by an overwhelming number of World Trade Organization delegates, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was on a fast track to become the head of the global trade group.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was set to become the first woman and first African to lead the global trade watchdog.  A selection panel of WTO trade ministers found she had far more support than a South Korean rival and it was expected that the Asian candidate would be withdrawn because the African candidate would be most likely to attract consensus among the members.
But the historic appointment hit a stumbling block with last-minute opposition from the Trump administration and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer who threw their support to Yoo Myung-hee, the current Minister for Trade of South Korea, calling her a “bona-fide trade expert”, and suggesting that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was unqualified for the job.
“The WTO is badly in need of major reform. It must be led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field,” the U.S. office said.
Molly Toomey, a spokeswoman for Okonjo-Iweala, rejected the comments, saying “WTO members wouldn’t have selected a Director General who is missing any skills or qualifications.”
A Nigerian-born economist and international development expert, Okonjo-Iweala sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and has held several key positions at the World Bank. She says the WTO should play a role in helping poorer countries access COVID-19 drugs and vaccines.
President Trump has shown animus to numerous world bodies and agreements, withdrawing from the World Health Organization, the Paris Agreement on climate change, the nonbinding Global Compact on Migration, the U.N. Human Rights Council, UNESCO, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, NAFTA, and the Iran nuclear deal, among others.
Trump has described the WTO as “horrible”, biased towards China and threatened to withdraw. Last month, the trade body found the U.S. had breached global trading rules by imposing multi-billion dollar tariffs in Trump’s trade war with China.
“We’ll have to do something about the WTO because they let China get away with murder,” Trump grumbled after the ruling.
The U.S. has paralyzed the WTO’s appellate body by blocking appointments to the seven-person panel for more than two years. A global court for trade, it has been unable to issue judgments on new cases since December 2019 because there aren’t enough active members.
Yoo presents herself as a “bridge” candidate, aiming to overcome the divide between the United States and China, however she is reported to be having problems solidifying support from some major Asian members – including China and Japan. The deadline for the appointment is Nov. 7. w/pix of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala   

Newswire: Trump points the finger of blame at another Black man for COVID-19

President blames the World Health Organization for not providing timely information, WHO says coronavirus was public health emergency in January

By Frederick H. Lowe

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebryeyeous

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from

( – President Trump has found a Black man other than former President Barack Obama to point the finger at for his and his administration’s failings.
Trump is now attacking Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Ethiopian-born head of the World Health Organization, one of the go-to organizations dispensing important data concerning the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. is a major WHO funder, and Trump has threatened to cut the Geneva, Switzerland-based organization’s funding, charging that the WHO “really blew it,” being persuaded by China to downplay the coronavirus outbreak.
“They could have called it much earlier,” Trump said at a coronavirus task force briefing Tuesday evening. “When they call every shot wrong, that’s no good.” He charged that the WHO was very “China-centric. “Fortunately, I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on…Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?” Trump posted in an April 7 tweet.
Nearly 40,000 people have flown from China to the United States since the president imposed travel restrictions between the two countries.
And others have piled on with the blame. U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump loyalist, said on Fox News he will push to cut WHO’s U.S. funding unless there is a change in leadership. The U.S. provided $900 million in funding to the WHO in 2018 and 2019. Trump wants to cut it to $57.9 million and Graham wants to cut the funding to zero.
During a virtual news briefing, Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said it wasn’t the appropriate time to cut funding during the ongoing pandemic. Dr. Ghebreyesus warned Trump not to politicize the pandemic.
“If you want to be exploited and if you want to have many more body bags, then you do it. If you don’t want any more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ghebreysus released a timeline on WHO letterhead. The timeline begins on December 31, 2019, when China reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, Hubei Province and the last date is March 18.
The most important date is January 30, when the WHO declared the coronavirus a “public health emergency of international concern. The director general accepted the recommendation and declared a novel coronavirus outbreak.”
On the other hand, President Trump confidently predicted the coronavirus did not present a serious threat to the U.S., assuring Americans: “It’s going to have very good ending.”
Prior to January 30, the WHO issued dire warnings.
On January 1, 2020, the WHO had set up the Incident Management Support Team across three levels of the organization: headquarters, regional headquarters, and country-level putting the organization on emergency status for dealing with the viral outbreak.
From February 16 to 24, a WHO-China joint mission, which included participation from the U.S., Canada, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Russia and Singapore, spent time in Beijing and also traveling to Wuhan where they talked to health workers and scientists. The joint mission released a report: //
On January 5, 2020, WHO published in the first issue of Disease Outbreak News reporting on the new virus. This is a flagship publication that was given to the scientific and public health community as well as to the global media.
There also is another racial component here.
Dr. Ghebreyesus charged that Taiwan engaged in a racist smear campaign against him because
he is Black, an accusation the country’s foreign minister has denied. He does, however, have strong support from Africa’s heads of state. Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa, reaffirmed Africa’s support of WHO.
Ethiopian President Sahle -Work Zewde, said “Our global priority is to save lives. WHO under
Dr. Tedros’ effective leadership, is delivering on its mandate at a time we need them most.
Dr. Ghebreyesus also has the support of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the White House’s point man on COVID-19.
Trump, however, continues the game of shifting the blame on black men. He started blaming Obama for every Oval Office failing, and he hasn’t stopped.