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WTO: EU backs Okonjo-Iweala, S’Korean candidate


Tony Chukwunyem, with agency reports

European Union (EU) governments will support Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and South Korean, Yoo Myung-hee, as  candidates to lead the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as the race enters its final month, Bloomberg reported Monday.
The news outlet said it learnt from an official familiar with the matter that  EU member-country envoys agreed on Monday in Brussels to endorse Dr. Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea’s trade chief, Yoo Myung-hee, in their bids to become WTO Director-General.
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.
Five candidates are still in the running to the lead the WTO, which according to the report, plans to announce two finalists after October  6 and name a winner by November 7.
The WTO’s former D-G, 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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