Okonjo-Iweala set to lead WTO as only rival withdraws

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is set to lead the World Trade Organisation, as South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee withdrew her bid for the post.

She is set to become the first woman and the first African to lead the organization in its 25-year history.

Yoo decided after discussions with the U.S. and other major nations, and took various issues into account including the need to revitalize the multilateral organization, according to a statement from Korea’s trade ministry on Friday.

“There was no consensus,” Yoo said. “So we needed enough time for in-depth consultations with important members, including the U.S.”

The US was supporting Yoo Myung-hee, to become the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, ahead of the Nigerian.

US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, while giving reasons for opposing Okonjo-Iweala, who gained American citizenship in 2019, said WTO needs “someone with real, hands-on experience in the field”.

If the U.S., Korea and the WTO’s other 162 members join a consensus to appoint Okonjo-Iweala, the WTO can announce a meeting to confirm her appointment within a matter of days.

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