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Yoo Myung-hee climbs to final two for WTO leadership

Posted October. 09, 2020 07:39,   

Updated October. 09, 2020 07:39


South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee became the final two candidates to be selected as the next leader of the World Trade Organization (WTO) – the linchpin of the world’s multilateral trade order. Expectations are growing that she will become the first South Korean in history to lead the WTO.

WTO members chose the two final candidates for WTO director-general – South Korea's trade minister and Nigeria's finance minister and its first woman foreign minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, making them advance to the final third round of the election, according to the Ministry of Trade, industry and Energy of South Korea on Thursday. Once Minister Yoo wins the election, she will have a double honor of being the first WTO director-general who is South Korean and the first woman to lead the organization.

The two female candidates are neck and neck in the election race. Yoo gains the upper hand in career and on-the-field experience given that she has worked around 25 years in trade and commerce.

The key point of winning the final round lies in gaining support of major and influential WTO members such as the United States, China and the European Union (EU) because final decision-making is led and concluded by member states’ discussions. The WTO plans to conclude the selection results before Nov. 7.

Ae-Jin Ju jaj@donga.com · Hyung-Jun Hwang constant25@donga.com