United States President Joe Biden’s team is supporting Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to become head of the World Trade Organization.
The WTO has been without a head since August and former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration opposed her.
But her only rival from South Korea withdrew his name, clearing the way for her to take the post.
The Biden administration has also said it’s going to re-engage with the WTO, pushing for some procedural reforms.
It has been toothless since the U.S. failed to nominate people for the WTO’s disputes-settling panels.
It has also been sidelined by country-to-country trade negotiations, mainly involving only the rich and powerful nations of the world.
That has left smaller players, including Canada, without a forum to negotiate for what they want.
Canada had been highly successful in pressing its interests when the WTO was still the leading forum for trade negotiations.
One of the biggest gains for Canada was the Uruguay Round when limits were placed on farm subsidies and all import barriers were converted to tariffs. Despite strong opposition from Canada’s supply-management marketing boards, that deal actually increased their protection from imports because Canada set tariffs so high that almost no dairy or poultry could come in.
One of the WTO agreements that is due to soon come into effect could have a big impact on supply management because it calls for a ban on subsidized agricultural exports.
The WTO ruled some time ago that the supply management system is an agricultural subsidy, therefore any exports of commodities governed by marketing boards would be banned.