1. On May 23, Minister of Foreign Affairs Park Jin met with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, who is on a visit to Korea. In the meeting, the two sides discussed the recovery of the multilateral trading system, ways to promote economic security, and support for developing countries' participation in the WTO.
* Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the first woman and the first African Director-General of the WTO. She is former Finance Minister and Foreign Minister of Nigeria and also served as a Managing Director of the World Bank.
2. Foreign Minister Park assessed that the world is now facing a so-called polycrisis, amidst geopolitical conflicts as well as the disruption to global supply chains, and emphasized the crucial role of Director-General Okonjo-Iweala and the WTO, which is at the center of the multilateral trading system, in restoring the rules-based multilateral trading system. Foreign Minister Park also expressed Korea’s willingness to continue to cooperate with the WTO.
3. Foreign Minister Park said that Korea is strengthening communication on resilient global supply chains and economic security with its partner countries which share common values. Moreover, Foreign Minister Park highlighted Korea's great efforts as an active participant in multilateral economic platforms such as the WTO, APEC, the G20, and the IPEF in the process of establishing a new economic order.
4. Foreign Minister Park explained that Korea, which transformed from an aid-recipient country to a donor country through an open multilateral trading system, places a high priority on sharing its development experience with developing countries and, further, fostering mutual growth with them through various programmes to strengthen their capabilities.
5. Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala expressed her appreciation for Korea’s contributions to the WTO, including its support for developing countries. The Director-General also highly recognized the modest condition of the Korean economy despite the difficult global economic situation.
6. Director-General Okonjo-Iweala then requested that Korea play a pivotal role in recovering the multilateral trading system and the functioning of the WTO, as the rules-based free trade system is currently at stake due to geopolitical conflicts such as the tension between the U.S. and China. Director-General Okonjo-Iweala also called on Korea to continue to pay attention to and support developing countries including African nations, to enable them to grow together within the free trade system.
7. Lastly, Foreign Minister Park said that considering Korea's status and contributions in global trade, it is unfortunate that only a few Koreans are currently working in the WTO Secretariat. Foreign Minister Park requested special attention to Korean professionals who possess expertise as well as remarkable language skills.