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Myung-hee withdraws from WTO race, leaving Okonjo-Iweala sole candidate

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The coast is now clear for Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to become the Director General of the World Trade Organisation, WTO, following the withdrawal of South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee.

WTO had in October selected Okonjo-Iweala to be DG, but the United States led then by Donald Trump blocked her appointment as a consensus was needed.

Since the US blocked her appointment, ratification of her appointment has been delayed.

The good news however for the Nigerian is that Myung-hee withdraw from the race on Friday, making her the sole candidate.

Yoo, South Korean Trade Minister, in a statement on Friday said she had been in consultation with major countries such as the US over the consensus vote to become the next DG of WTO.

According to her, “In order to promote the functions of WTO and in consideration of various factors, I have decided to withdraw my candidacy.”

She said South Korea would continue to contribute in various ways to strengthen the restoration of the multilateral trading system as a responsible trading powerhouse.

Despite her stepping down, Okonjo-Iweala will still need the confirmation of all 164 members before becoming the DG, WTO.

The US had blocked her appointment because China supported her. The US and China had been in lingering trade war and the head of the WTO is key to who control world trade.

But the stepping down of Yoo, who has US backing may pave way for the US to soft-pedal, especially as President Joe Biden has taken over at the helms of affairs.

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