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Okonjo-Iweala becomes sole candidate for WTO DG as South Korea officially withdraws

THE coast is now clear for Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to become the next Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), as Yoo Myung-hee, the South Korean candidate has officially withdrawn from the race.
Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala
Image credit: Nairametrics

THE coast is now clear for Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to become the next Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), as Yoo Myung-hee, the South Korean candidate has officially withdrawn from the race.

Yoo Myung-hee is South Korea’s Trade Minister and its candidate for the top job at the WTO following the resignation of Roberto Azevedo. Washington Trade Daily first reported her withdrawal in November 2020 but had no official confirmation.

Okonjo-Iweala secured the popular vote by a wide margin on October 28, 2020, but was not named DG because the US under the former President, Donald Trump, opposed her candidacy. After the October 28, 2020, meeting, the WTO also said Okonjo-Iweala had the best chance of getting a consensus.

The US said it favoured Yoo over Okonjo-Iweala because WTO is in dire need of reform and must be “led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field”. There had been speculations in some quarters that the US would change its stance after Joe Biden won the US election, defeating Donald Trump.

“Due to the prolonged vacancy of the leadership at the WTO, the future of the organization also has become uncertain,” Yoo said at a press briefing in Seoul.

“To speed up the consensus-building among the member countries on selecting a new Director-General, I have decided to renounce my candidacy through close cooperation with the United States, our strong ally.
“Washington, which showed strong support for my candidacy, also respects the decision to step down from the race.”

 The Sun