As the race for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation enters its final month, the European Union has thrown its weight behind Nigeria’s candidate, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
According to Bloomberg, the EU also decided 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.
Asides Dr. Okonjo-Iweala and Ms. Myung-hee, the race of the next WTO DG has one more female candidate, Amina Mohamed, who did not get the support of the EU. Weeks ago, eight candidates (five men and three women) that started the race were shortlisted to five through a selection process.
The remaining five candidates that will advance to the next round of elimination are Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria, Yoo Myung-hee of the Republic of Korea, Amina Mohamed of Kenya, Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Liam Fox of the United Kingdom.
The WTO’s General Council is expected to meet today to reduce the five candidates still in the race for DG to two.
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.
It plans to announce two finalists after October 6 and name a winner by November 7. Brazilian Roberto Azevedo had 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.