International Business News Updates

South Korea pushes Nigeria closer to WTO hot seat

South Korea’s Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee, quits WTO race today and pushes Nigeria, represented by Okonjo-Iweala closer to director-general’s seat.

The exit of South Korea removes one of two hurdles preventing Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from occupying the WTO driving seat.

It remains to be seen whether new US President, Joe Biden, will remove the final hurdle by endorsing the Nigerian who also holds US citizenship.

BREAKING: US Finally endorses Okonjo-Iweala

Former President Donald Trump had put a spanner in the works by blocking Okonjo-Iweala’s adoption when it became obvious that almost all other member nations back her.

She and Yoo made the final list among a slew of candidates that contested for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) job

The US under Trump said it preferred second finalist, South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee, effectively blocking Okonjo-Iweala and halting the entire selection process.

But Yoo, South Korea’s trade minister, said today in a concession statement that the leadership tussle has made WTO’s future “uncertain.”

Her statement also indicated tacit support for her former rival.

“South Korea will actively contribute to reaching consensus for the next WTO chief and co-operate with her and participate in the WTO reform process,” she said.

She said the decision was made in consultation with the United States which constitutes the remaining hurdle for Okonjo-Iweala.

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South Korean candidate, Yoo Myung-hee quits race for WTO top job clearing way for Nigeria, represented by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to move closer to the hot seat

Photo: Yoo Myung-hee, South Korea Trade Minister.