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WTO DG: South Korea’s Myung-hee May Withdraw From Race

There are strong indications that South Korea may have decided to withdraw its trade minister, Yoo Myung-hee, from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director General’s race thereby paving the way for Nigeria’s candidate, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to be confirmed for the position ultimately.

U.S-based Washington Trade Daily (WTD) on Tuesday quoted people familiar with the South Korean government’s latest stance, reporting that the government is expected to announce its decision to withdraw Myung-hee in the coming days.

The news medium reported that South Korea had already conveyed its decision to the United States government, which has been insisting on the selection of Myung-hee for the WTO topmost position.

The newspaper indicated that part of the reason why the United States stood against Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy is that she is perceived to be close to the Democratic Party.

It would be recalled that the WTO had scheduled a General Council meeting for November 9 but had to postpone it after the Geneva Canton imposed new restrictions on meetings in the face of the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases.

Due to the pandemic, recent meetings of the WTO were held virtually through internet platforms. In order to take decisions by the General Council, a quorum of 82 members must be present at the meeting.

Another WTO General Council meeting has been scheduled for December 17, but it is not clear whether the meeting will take place if the current restrictions extend to December this year.

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