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I’m ready to hit the ground running, says Okonjo-Iweala says, as she resumes WTO position

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The newly elected director-general of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala today said she feels great as she spends her first day as the chief executive of the world trade body, saying she’s ready to hit the ground running.

“It feels great. I am coming into one of the most important institutions in the world and we have a lot of work to do. I feel ready to go,” Okonjo-Iweala told a reporter on arrival at the WTO’s Geneva headquarters.

Okonjo-Iweala’s resumption of duty coincides with a meeting of its top decision-making body, the General Council. Its 164 member states will discuss topics such as trade rules on COVID-19 vaccine distribution which Okonjo-Iweala has identified as a priority.

Also on the agenda is the date and venue for its major ministerial conference which was due to be held in Kazakhstan last year but was delayed by the pandemic.

Okonjo-Iweala said she was hopeful of clinching a deal on cutting fisheries subsidies this year after 20 years of talks.

“Things are not easy when members are negotiating and there are still a lot of critical issues that need to be sorted out. But we are hopeful,” she said, speaking next to an ice statue of fish erected by environmental groups outside the WTO.

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