Director of The Diplomat in Spain
Yoo Myung-hee, the current Trade Minister of the Republic of Korea, is not an ordinary politician. She is not really a politician, understood as having focused her career on party politics. Her biography indicates that she came to the position of minister after a long career as a civil servant in various ministries, mainly related to trade. She started from the bottom. And every step she has taken has been aimed at improving and increasing her knowledge of world trade from a strictly technical point of view, without political or ideological inclinations.
That is why her candidacy to be the director-general of the World Trade Organization makes perfect sense. And not only because her proposals include transforming that body so that it is capable of responding adequately to changes in current trade, and in particular resolving conflicts of interest between developed and developing countries. Also because she proposes to solve the trade conflict between the United States and China. And that’s really something.
As for the first of her objectives, she herself made it clear when she presented her candidacy: “South Korea can become a bridge, connecting developing and advanced countries”. As for the second, Yoo aims to “transparently and reasonably coordinate conflicts of interest between the United States and China”.
This may seem like a mere campaign promise, but if anyone is capable of carrying out both objectives, it is this Korean woman, halfway between the two worlds and with a very deep understanding of global trade relations. Yoo has extensive experience and has been involved in numerous trade agreements and negotiations with major powers, including the United States.
One detail that explains Yoo Myung-hee’s personality is that, in 1998, when she moved to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, she felt the need to improve her preparation to better understand trade and went to study for a doctorate in law at Vanderbilt University. A large majority of civil servants, after six years in his position, would have settled into a safe and easy job. She did not.
Yoo, who enjoys a remarkable reputation in business circles, also aims to contribute to the economic growth and development of Africa, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific by sharing the Korean experience in the development of rapid economic growth. If she succeeds, will have taken a major step forward in balancing world trade and global political relations. It will not be easy, but it is not impossible.
There are four other candidates for the post, from Egypt, Mexico, Nigeria and Moldova. Their qualifications for the position will have to be considered, but they will have to be truly outstanding to compete with the woman who is known in her country as the “glass-ceiling breaker”.
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