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European Union backs Okonjo-Iweala for WTO job – Report

by OtownGist


The European Union governments on Monday expressed support for Nigeria’s candidate for the position of the director-general of the World Trade Organisation, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as the race enters the final month.

Bloomberg reported that the EU governments also agreed in Brussels to select the South Korean candidate, Yoo Myung-hee, who is the country’s trade minister, as the second candidate for the job.

Hungary swung behind the planned recommendation after being the only EU country to withhold support at a lower-level meeting of officials representing the 27-nation bloc last Friday, a source said on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations were confidential.

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Five candidates are still in the race to lead the WTO.

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The remaining contenders were all current or former ministers, something that trade officials had previously said was an important characteristic for a future director-general.

They are Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri, Saudi Arabia’s former minister of economy and planning; Liam Fox, the UK’s former secretary of state for international trade; and Amina Chawahir Mohamed Jibril, Kenya’s former international trade minister.

The WTO planned to announce two finalists after October 6 and name a winner by November 7.

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Brazilian Roberto Azevedo stepped down from the job at the end of August a year before his term ended.

The Geneva-based trade body faced headwinds from the coronavirus pandemic, the US-China trade battle, a hobbled arbitration system and a lack of tools to tackle growing challenges such as industrial subsidies.

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