US Backs Yoo Against Rival, Throwing WTO Race Up in the Air



Ahn Sung-mi | The Korea Herald

The World Trade Organization’s leadership race has been thrown up in the air, as the US blocked the Nigerian front-runner and decided to put its weight behind South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee, despite her failure to win majority support from the member states.

At a meeting in Geneva on Wednesday, the WTO’s selection panel recommended Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next director general, as she won the backing of the vast majority of the multilateral body’s 164 member states.

But the US, critical of the WTO’s dealings in trade, raised a last-minute objection against Okonjo-Iweala and opted for Seoul’s candidate. As the final appointment requires a consensus by all member nations, the possibility of a deadlock remains if the US does not budge.

After a WTO delegate meeting, spokesman Keith Rockwell said the US remained a strong supporter of Yoo.

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