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S. Korean trade minister withdraws candidacy for WTO chief

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Move clears way for Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to lead global trade body.

South Korean candidate Yoo Myung-hee Friday withdrew her bid to lead the World Trade Organization, clearing the way for her Nigerian rival Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

The news comes as U.S. President Joe Biden’s team said it preferred a swift move to appoint a WTO head.

“Considering various factors, including the need to revitalize the role of the WTO, Yoo has decided to renounce her candidacy,” the ministry of trade, industry and energy, which Yoo leads as minister, said in a statement carried by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

“South Korea will continue to make various contributions to rebuild and enhance multilateralism. It will especially make efforts to play leading roles in global issues, including reforming the WTO, as well as the digital economy and climate change,” it added.

Okonjo-Iweala garnered more support than Yoo from the WTO’s 164 member states, the body said previously.