South Korea’s Myung-hee Drops out of WTO Race, Clearing Path for Okonjo-Iweala

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South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee has dropped her bid to lead the World Trade Organisation, leaving former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the only remaining candidate for the job

A statement from Korea’s trade ministry on Friday, said Myung-hee made the decision after discussions with the United States and other major nations.

The statement said the South Korean minister took various issues into account “comprehensively”, including the need to revitalize the multilateral organization.

Ms. Myung-hee, backed by the US, was Okonjo-Iweala’s sole opponent after other contestants withdrew from the race last year.

But for the United States’ lone opposition, Okonjo-Iweala would have been declared the winner of the race last October after securing the vote of 163 of the 164 members of the trade organization.

The former coordinating minister for the economy and minister of finance of Nigeria could however not be declared the head of the WTO because of the objection by the US, which cited lack of experience and procedural issues for its stance.

According to the organisation’s selection rules, its DG has to emerge by consensus.

With the withdrawal of South Korea’s Myung-hee from the race, the path is now clear for Okonjo-Iweala’s emergence as the head of the global trade body.