Costa Rica appointed deputy leader of the World Trade Organization

The head of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Tuesday appointed two women to the four posts of vice-leader of the WTO for the first time in its history.

The new Director General – herself the first woman and the first African to lead the WTO – has appointed Angela Ellard of the United States and Anabel Gonzalez of Costa Rica, as well as Jean-Marie Paugam of France and Zhang Xiangchen of China.

The WTO had a female Deputy Director General previously, but Okonjo-Iweala said it was “the first time in the history of our organization that half of DDGs are women.”

“This underscores my commitment to strengthening our organization with talented leaders while achieving gender balance in leadership positions,” said the head of the WTO, who took office on March 1.

“I look forward to welcoming them to the WTO.”

In making the appointments, the former Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs of Nigeria maintained the previous balance of an MP from China, one from the United States, one from the European Union and one from a developing country elsewhere .

The new DDGs replace Yonov Frederick Agah of Nigeria, Karl Brauner of Germany, Alan Wolff of the United States and Yi Xiaozhun of China.

MPs each support four or five areas within the Geneva-based global trade body, such as legal affairs, market access, development, agriculture and commodities, and intellectual property.

Ellard served in the United States Congress as chief business adviser to Majority and Minorities.

Gonzalez is a former Minister of Foreign Trade who has also served as a Senior Director at the World Bank and Director of the Agriculture and Commodities Division at the WTO.

Paugam was France’s permanent representative to the WTO and held senior positions in the French Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Zhang is a vice minister of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, which was recently Beijing’s permanent representative to the WTO.

The organization is holding a meeting of its general council on Wednesday and Thursday. The Council is the highest decision-making body of the WTO in Geneva, with representatives from the 164 member states.


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