WTO DG: Coast is clear for Okonjo-Iweala as Korean candidate, Myung-hee, quits race

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The coast is almost clear for Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to emerge as the next Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Her only opponent, South Korean Yoo Myung-hee, is set to quit the race.

A report by Washington Trade Daily said that South Korea had decided to withdraw its candidate, Myung-hee, who is its trade minister from the WTO top job.

Washington Trade Daily quoted sources to have said that South Korea had notified the US of its decision and was expected to make it public “in the coming days.”

The report further stated: “Washington refused to accept the recommendation made by the selection panel chaired by General Council Chair Ambassador David Walker that Mrs Okonjo-Iweala is the candidate most likely of the two to attract consensus because she clearly carried the largest support by members in the final round and clearly enjoyed broad support from members from all levels of development and from all geographic regions and has done so throughout the process.

“Yoo from Korea failed to receive enough support from members of all levels of development that is developed, developing and least developing countries, as well as geographically in comparison to the ‘largest’ support received by Mrs Okonjo-Iweala.”

Okonjo-Iweala had secured the popular vote by a wide margin, in fact a vast majority of the 164 member nations, on October 28 but was not named DG because the US opposed her candidacy.

After the October 28 meeting, WTO also said Okonjo-Iweala had the best chance of getting a consensus.

A November 9, 2020 general council meeting scheduled to consider the appointment of the next DG was postponed.

Another general council meeting has been scheduled for December 17 to finalize the process.

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