Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Nigeria minister, has won the support of the European Union (EU) for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as the race enters its final month.
Bloomberg reported EU member-country envoys agreed on Monday in Brussels to endorse Dr. Okonjo-Iweala in her to become WTO DG, according to an official familiar with the matter.
Yoo Myung-hee, South Korea candidate for the same position, was also endorsed by the EU.
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.