Current AffairsWorld

US backs South Korean Trade Minister for WTO Dir-Gen

New Delhi: The Trump administration has declared its backing for South Korea’s Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee to be the next Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.

“The United States supports the selection of Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee as the next WTO Director-General,” the US Trade Representative’s office said in a statement, accessed here.

The statement said, Yoo is “a bona fide trade expert” who has distinguished herself during a 25-year career as a successful trade negotiator and trade policy maker.

“She has all the skills necessary to be an effective leader of the organization.”

The Trump administration has earlier blocked appointments to the WTO dispute settlement panel. Its latest move just days ahead of the presidential election on November 3 has disrupted the process of selection by consensus.

Reports earlier from Geneva said it was almost agreed on the appointment of former Nigeran finance and foreign minister Ngozi Okonjo Ijewala, as the next director general.

By tradition, the 164 member have preferred consensus to election by voting of the appointment of the director general.

“This is a very difficult time for the WTO and international trade. There have been no multilateral tariff negotiations in 25 years, the dispute settlement system has gotten out of control, and too few members fulfil basic transparency obligations.

“The WTO is badly in need of major reform. It must be led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field”, the USTR said, giving its reason for the decision.

On Wednesday, Okonjo-Iweala, a development expert, was recommended by a WTO nomination committee.

The WTO Govering Council will meet on November 9 to resolve the issue.

If Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy is agreed on, she would be the first woman and also the first African to head the global trade watchdog.


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