South Korean Trade Minister Yu Myung-hee said on Friday that she was withdrawing from the competition to command the World Trade Organization, paving the way for members to nominate the first African and first woman to lead the World Trade Organization.
After consultation with its 164 members, the World Trade Organization’s select committee nominated Nigerian Nokosi Okonjo-Iwala as president in October, but opposition from the US government under former President Donald Trump prevented it from doing so.
More than three months later, the U.S.-backed U.S. did not back down from the controversy, despite increasing diplomatic pressure to do so.
“I have decided to withdraw my candidacy in order to promote the responsibilities of the World Trade Organization and for a number of factors,” the YOO said in a statement.
Yu, the finalist selected from eight candidates to head the agency, said his decision was made after consultation with allies, including the United States.
Okonjo-Ivela, a former World Bank finance minister and executive, said he was waiting for the selection process to be completed. Organization members must meet again to make a final choice.
The World Trade Organization has been without a leader since August, when Brazilian Roberto Azevedo resigned a year before the end of his term.
The first woman to take charge after the dispute between Nigeria and South Korea
The names of the finalists Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Yoo Myung-hee were announced on Thursday (8).