WTO director race narrows
The field for the World Trade Organization’s next director-general has narrowed to Mexico’s former trade minister Herminio Blanco and Brazilian diplomat Roberto Azevedo. The second four-year term of Director-General Pascal Lamy of France expires on Aug. 31.
Whoever is selected will take on an organization that is at a crossroads. While it will remain an important institution for helping settle disputes and monitoring policy, the rise of regional trade organizations has created doubts about the future of the WTO’s role as a multilateral forum for negotiations.
Fast-growing nations are looking to take on bigger roles in major global financial and trade decisions, primarily within institutions such as the WTO and International Monetary Fund.
BK profit up, revenue sinks
Burger King’s first-quarter earnings more than doubled even though revenue fell, as the fast-food chain took steps to reduce its restaurant-related expenses by selling more company-owned outlets to franchisees.
That move lowers Burger King’s Worldwide Inc.’s overhead costs. Instead of booking sales from those restaurants, that means Burger King would collect franchise fees.
Burger King said competition and a strong first quarter last year hurt U.S. and Canadian sales comparisons to this year’s quarter. It said sales from those countries rallied in March due in part to promotions such as the $1.29 Whopper Jr.
Hostess bakery to reopen
Hostess Brands LLC says it will reopen its eastern Kansas bakery this summer, with the hiring of an initial 250 people already underway.
The announcement was made Thursday by the investment partnership that bought Hostess Brands’ snack cake product lines.
More than 500 people lost their jobs when Hostess, then in bankruptcy proceedings, closed the plant in Emporia last November following a strike by union bakers.
Hostess Brands LLC paid $410 million for the rights to the Hostess and Dolly Madison snack cake brands, along with five plants. But Emporia City Commissioner Jon Geitz tells KVOE-AM that the reopening of the local plant hadn’t been assured until Thursday.