On Thursday, August 6 the Washington International Trade Association hosted a webinar conversation with World Trade Organization (WTO) Direct General Candidate H.E. Ambassador Amina Mohamed. Ambassador Mohamed is Kenya’s candidate for Director General of the WTO. The webinar conversation focused on Ambassador Mohamed’s vision for the WTO as well how she perceives the new Director General’s role amidst this critical period in the organization’s history.
Throughout the discussion, Ambassador Mohamed reiterated her emphasis on the need for reform within the WTO. As Director General, Ambassador Mohamed said she would seek to reform the organization’s existing rules, which she sees as inhibiting the organization’s ability to respond to new developments in the global trading system. Ambassador Mohamed also mentioned how she sees reform of the organization’s rule as a means of promoting recovery from the economic fallout produced by COVID-19. Economies are increasingly turning to protectionist measures to dampen the economic impact of COVID-19. However, Ambassador Mohamed warned that these reactions could prolong recovery from this crisis. Therefore, Ambassador Mohamed emphasized the role of the new Director General in urging countries to maintain postures which are friendly to free and fair trade.
Recognizing increasing global trade tensions, Ambassador Mohamed also emphasized the importance of renewing the organization’s members’ capacity to negotiate. Ambassador Mohamed reiterated her desire to use her skills as a consensus builder to find a way to facilitate cooperation between members. As Director General, rebuilding confidence and trust between countries would be a top priority of Ambassador Mohamed. Ambassador Mohamed discussed the importance of the Director General’s role as an honest broker, working to relieve tensions amongst members. Ambassador Mohamed sees the new Director General as responsible for restoring the organization’s status as a force for good and an engine of economic growth, reigniting the vision of the organization’s founders.