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Front-runners in WTO race hone messages to overcome China-US feud

Candidates seek to bring Washington back to multilateral table with reform promises

Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, left, a former World Bank economist, and Kenya's Amina Mohamed, right, a World Trade Organization veteran, are seen as top contenders for director-general of the WTO. (Nikkei collage/Reuters/Getty Images)

NEW YORK -- Top contenders in the World Trade Organization's leadership race walk a fine line between defending the current framework and promising a makeover as they seek support from a Beijing and Washington at odds over the issue.

Speaking to the Nikkei Asian Review, perceived front-runners Amina Mohamed of Kenya and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria pledged meaningful reform that would preserve the WTO's position as the place to resolve the thorniest trade issues, including American complaints of Chinese state capitalism.

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