WTO Race: Okonjo-Iweala nears victory as Korean challenger prepares to withdraw
Former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is poised to emerge unopposed as director-general of the World Trade Organisation, the Washington Trade Daily reported on Monday.
Citing insider sources familiar with the development, the weekday business journal revealed that Ms. Yoo Myung-hee — Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala’s sole challenger who enjoys the support of the United States — would be withdrawn from the race by her home country Korea in the coming days.
“Seoul (Korea’s seat of power) has already conveyed its decision to the United States, which has been insisting on the selection of Ms. Yoo,” the Washington-based newspaper reported its sources to have said.
Bloomberg had reported that Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala’s confirmation as DG of the global trade body was put on hold because the United States, a key bloc in the selection process, did not endorse her.
The 66-year-old Nigerian economist, who had an illustrious career at the World Bank spanning over two decades, however, enjoys massive support from other WTO member countries.
WTO’s spokesperson Keith Rockwell had described Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala as the best candidate for its keenly contested top job.
The trade body is expected to convene its council meeting on December 17, in Geneva, Switzerland.
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