SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea’s top trade officials are giving up their bid to become the next Director-General of the World Trade Organization, making it likely that the job will go to former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She will become the first woman to lead the organization.
South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a news release on Friday that its trade minister, Yeo Myung-hee, would soon tell the WTO that she was withdrawing her candidacy.
The WTO, which makes world trade rules, announced in October that Yeo and Okonzo-Iwela were the two finalists to become its next director general, ensuring that a woman would fill the top job for the first time. The South Korean ministry said the WTO had hoped to announce a winner before the end of 2020, but the process was pulled due to differences between member states, the South Korean ministry said.
While it appeared that Okonzo-Iweala had widespread support, the WTO, which operates unanimously, meant that any single member country could block decisions.
The South Korean ministry said that U discussed her candidacy with officials of the United States and other WTO member states before deciding to withdraw the “broad” views.
The previous WTO Director-General, Roberto Azvedo of Brazil, made a surprise announcement in May last year that he would leave the job a year earlier, citing a “personal decision”. He left without an heir in late August.
The Geneva-based WTO, created in 1995 out of the former General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, never made a woman director general or national of Africa its leader.
Copyright 2021 associated Press. All rights reserved. This content may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.