Seoul’s trade minister, Yoo Myung-hee, vying to become the first South Korean to head the WTO, is reportedly behind her Nigerian rival in their two-way race.
At a General Council meeting on Wednesday, Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala garnered more support from the WTO’s 164 member states than Yoo has.
According to diplomatic sources, the European Union is supporting the Nigerian candidate, whom Japan is also backing.
The thoughts of China and other major economies remain unclear.
Despite others expecting Yoo to soon give up, South Korea’s top office believes there’s room to turn the tables.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, an official from the Blue House said thatsoon the official results of the consultation process will be announced, hinting that the government still has some hope.
And there’s another variable that could help: support from the U.S.

“The U.S. said that they supported minister Yoo because of her 25 years of trade experience, that she would be able to hit the ground running. They said that they could not endorse Doctor Ngozi.”

This also comes as the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative expressed its intention to endorse South Korea’s candidate.
The process to pick the new leader of the WTO is based on forming a consensus among all member-states.
In other words, a single country could block either candidate.
In addition to having to reach a consensus, there is still some time before the WTO members formally make their decision in the General Council meeting due to take place on November 9th.
A Blue House official added now its time for related ministries, such as the foreign ministry, to work on increasing Yoo’s chances.
Hong Yoo, Arirang News.

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