The majority of EU member states voted on Monday in favor of European support for Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the post of Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), but no decision has been made. still taken, we learned from European sources.
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Finance of Nigeria, but also ex-number two of the World Bank, Ms. Okonjo-Iweala remains alone in contention against the South Korean Yoo Myung-hee, 53, the first woman from her country to having headed the Ministry of Commerce.
During a closed-door meeting on Monday morning, most of the 27 EU member states indicated their preference for the African candidate, according to a European source.
A dozen others, who leaned more for the South Korean, said they were ready to join this majority.
Two other member states, Hungary and a Baltic state, however refused to join the consensus.
The meeting was to resume at 5:00 p.m. GMT, in order to give the ambassadors of these two countries time to consult their capitals.
European support would give an appreciable boost to the African candidate in the race for the WTO.
The third round of talks, which will have to decide between the two contenders, began on October 19 and will end on Tuesday.
A consensus will have to be found for the deadline of November 7.
The candidate who will win will succeed Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, who left the WTO at the end of August, a year earlier than expected.
This departure, explained by family reasons, occurred in the midst of the global economic slump, leaving the institution in crisis.
The next head of the institution will have to face the economic crisis but also the crisis of confidence in multilateralism and in the merits of the liberalization of world trade, all against the backdrop of a trade war between the two leading world economic powers, the China and the United States.
© 2020 AFP