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South Korea trade minister runs for WTO top job

South Korea has nominated Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee to become the next director-general of the World Trade Organization, the WTO said on Wednesday.

Yoo is the fifth candidate officially in the race to replace Brazilian career diplomat Robert Azevedo, who is stepping down a year early on August 31.

The nominations window closes on July 8.

The procedure for appointing the WTO director-general is a process of elimination carried out in consultation with members.

Yoo became South Korea’s first female trade minister in March last year after a career in trade diplomacy and foreign affairs.

“She is a skilful negotiator with deep knowledge and insights into the details of various areas of trade agreements,” said a biography released by the WTO.

“The WTO is at a critical juncture. Minister Yoo will bring her experience and skills to the membership and help drive reforms in the institution.”

The four other candidates running so far are Mexico’s former WTO deputy director-general Jesus Seade Kuri, former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Egyptian diplomat Hamid Mamdou and former Moldovan foreign minister Tudor Ulianovschi.

Media reports have linked several Europeans to the vacancy, with EU trade chief Phil Hogan saying earlier this month he was considering his options.