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Yoo to visit Geneva as WTO begins selection process for new head

According to Yonhap News,

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, Aug. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's trade minister, who is running to become the new head of the World Trade Organization (WTO), plans to visit Geneva this week as the international body begins the selection process for its next leader.

Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee will head to Switzerland on Monday as the WTO plans to launch the first round of the selection process on Sept. 7, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

During the first round, representatives from 164 member states will provide a maximum of four preferences, after which three candidates will be removed from the list. A total of three rounds of the selection process will be held.

She is competing against candidates from seven countries -- Mexico, Nigeria, Egypt, Moldova, Kenya, Saudi Arabia and Britain.

Yoo plans to contact representatives from the members states to call for their support, the ministry said.

Yoo is the third South Korean to run for director-general of the WTO. Two South Koreans made unsuccessful bids in 1994 and 2012.

Yoo was appointed as trade minister in February last year, becoming the first woman to be named to the top-ranking position in the 70-year history of the trade ministry. She is fluent in English and served as the presidential office's spokesperson for foreign correspondents.

The candidate has been insisting that she plans to rebuild trust in the multilateral trading system by making it more relevant, resilient and responsive.

Her bid to become the next WTO head comes amid the frayed relationship between South Korea and Japan.

South Korea reopened its complaint at the WTO last month as Japan has remained unresponsive to Seoul's repeated requests to lift the regulations.

Last year, Japan abruptly imposed restrictions on exports of key industrial materials to South Korea, which are crucial in the production of chips and displays. The WTO plans to decide later this month whether to set up a panel to look into South Korea's complaint against Japan.

Yoo pointed out that it is also important for Japan to have a fully functioning WTO so that disputes can be settled, which is one of her top priorities.

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Source: Yonhap News (Aug 31 2020)

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