Europe Union Throws Its Weight Behind Nigerian, Korean WTO-Head Contenders

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(COMBO) This combination of file pictures created on October 7, 2020, shows South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee (L) in Geneva on July 16, 2020; and Nigerian former Foreign and Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (R) in Geneva, July 15, 2020, as they give press conferences as part of their application process to head the WTO as Director General. - Two women, Yoo Myung-hee of South Korean and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria, remain in the running to lead the World Trade Organization, sources familiar with the decision said on October 7, 2020, in what will be a first for the trade body. The official announcement of the two candidates left standing is expected on October 8, 2020. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Bloc to support two female candidates for next WTO shortlist

Global trade arbiter plans to choose its new leader by Nov. 7

European Union governments will support the Nigerian and South Korean candidates to lead the World Trade Organization as the race enters its final mont.

EU member-country envoys agreed on Monday in Brussels to endorse Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former finance minister, and Yoo Myung-hee, South Korea’s trade chief, in their bids to become WTO director-general, according to an official familiar with the matter.
Hungary swung behind the planned recommendation after being the only EU country to withhold support at a lower-level meeting last Friday of officials representing the 27-nation bloc, the person said on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations were confidential.

Who Will Lead the WTO and Help It Avoid Collapse?: QuickTake

Five candidates are still in the running to the lead the WTO. It plans to announce two finalists after Oct. 6 and name a winner by Nov. 7.

Brazilian Roberto Azevedo stepped down from the job at the end of August — a year before his term ended. The Geneva-based trade body faces headwinds from the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S.-China trade battle, a hobbled arbitration system and a lack of tools to tackle growing challenges such as industrial subsidies.

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