WTO DG Race: Coast Clear For Okonjo-Iweala As South Korean Candidate Withdraws

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South Korean trade minister Yoo Myung-hee on Friday abandoned her bid to become head of the World Trade Organization, Seoul said, clearing the way for Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to become the global body’s first woman and first African director-general.

Yoo had consulted with the United States — her prime backer — and other major countries and “decided to renounce her candidacy”, South Korea’s trade ministry said in a statement.

The process to name a successor to Roberto Azevedo had been deadlocked since October when key WTO ambassadors tapped Okonjo-Iweala as the best pick to lead the organisation but the Trump administration maintained its opposition to her appointment.

The WTO head is normally chosen by consensus, leaving the process at a standstill.

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