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Okonjo-Iweala set to lead WTO as only rival withdraws

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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.

Okonjo-Iweala set to lead WTO as only rival withdraws

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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