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Despite US Support, Yoo Myung-hee Trails Okonjo-Iweala

Write: 2020-10-29 15:50:41Update: 2020-10-29 18:40:03

Photo : YONHAP News

Anchor: South Korea's Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee has failed to win overwhelming support from member countries of the World Trade Organization(WTO) in a race for the leadership of the international body. However, the race is not yet settled as the U.S. has vowed to support Yoo and could potentially block the appointment of Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Park Jong-hong reports.

Report: Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said that in a meeting of key World Trade Organization(WTO) ambassadors on Wednesday, General Council Chair David Walker announced that Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala secured more support than Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee in the final round of the race for the trade body’s leadership. 

Walker reportedly said the council plans to endorse the candidate who emerges after securing the consensus of all member states as the next WTO director-general at a special council meeting to be held November 9.  

According to the BBC, the Nigerian candidate garnered 104 votes out of the WTO's 164 members, while Yoo won just 60.

However, the race was thrown into a bit of uncertainty as the United States rejected the Nigerian candidate. The decision needs to be approved by consensus, meaning that any of the WTO members could block the appointment of Okonjo-Iweala.

In a statement late Wednesday, the U.S. Trade Representative's office expressed support for Yoo, calling her "a bona fide trade expert" who has distinguished herself during a 25-year career as a successful trade negotiator and trade policy maker.

The USTR said the WTO and international trade have faced a difficult time as there have been no multilateral tariff talks in 25 years and the dispute settlement system has gotten "out of control."

It added that the WTO is badly in need of major reform and must be led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field.

The South Korean government plans to hold discussions with the U.S. and other supporting nations to try to turn the tide of the race.
Park Jong-hong, KBS World Radio News.

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