The Nigerian-American, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, starts work as the new head of the World Trade Organisation on Monday.
A former Nigerian finance and foreign minister, she is the first woman and first African to run the WTO.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said that addressing the health and economic consequences of the pandemic would be a key priority.
There are concerns in Washington and other capitals about China’s trade policies and how well equipped the WTO is to deal with them.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala is known to be reform-minded, but will be constrained by the wishes of member countries.