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