S Korea’s candidate withdraws from World Trade Org DG race, clearing path for Okonjo-Iweala

Yoo Myung-hee, the South Korean candidate to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO), has dropped out of the race, effectively opening the door for Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to become its first African leader.

In a statement, Yoo, the South Korean Trade minister, said that she had been “in consultation with major countries such as the United States” over the consensus vote to become the next director general of the WTO.

Nigerian candidate Okonjo-Iweala had been recommended by top WTO officials to lead the Geneva body in October, after being judged to have had majority support among members, but the appointment was blocked by the United States under the Trump administration.

Former US trade representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer said that her opponent, Yoo, “is a bona fide trade expert who has distinguished herself during a 25-year career as a successful trade negotiator and trade policymaker”.

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