SEOUL, June 23 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s trade minister will officially run for the top position of the World Trade Organization (WTO) this week, ministry officials said Tuesday.
Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee will hold a press conference Wednesday to announce her bid to become the director general of the WTO, officials said.
Since early this month, the WTO has started its procedure to pick a new head, as Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo is set to step down in August, about a year before his term ends.
If Yoo officially makes her bid, she would become the third South Korean to run for the top slot of the Geneva-based trade body.
Two South Korean candidates made bids in 1994 and 2012 each, but they failed.
So far, the WTO has received four candidates from Egypt, Mexico, Nigeria and Moldova, according to the ministry.
Yoo, a veteran negotiator in trade talks, was appointed as South Korea’s trade minister in February last year.
Yoo has often been referred to as the “devil’s advocate” and a counterpoint to her predecessor, Kim Hyung-chong. Sources said while Kim takes a more aggressive approach during negotiations, Yoo tends to be more circumspect.
Yoo is fluent in English and served as the presidential office’s spokesperson for foreign correspondents.
She was the first woman to become a first-rank staff in the 70-year history of the trade ministry in 2018.