Another Kiwi to chair WTO agriculture negotiations

Good news from Trade Minister Tim Groser.

There is a consensus among World Trade Organisation members to appoint New Zealand’s Ambassador to the WTO, Dr David Walker, as the new chair of the WTO Doha Round Agriculture Negotiations.

Walker will be the third successive New Zealander to chair the agriculture negotiations.

He replaces Crawford Falconer, who finishes his assignment in Geneva at the end of this month and will return to New Zealand to take up the role of Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Falconer took over from Groser in 2005, when Groser gave up the ambassadorship to come home and become a National Party politician. And a fine one, too.

Walker is expected to be formally elected to the job at the next meeting of the Special Session of the Committee on Agriculture.

“This is a key position in the negotiations and Dr Walker’s appointment is a welcome step in helping ensure that we continue to see positive progress made on agriculture, an area of obvious importance to New Zealand, and the Doha Round as a whole,” said Mr Groser.

Just a week or so ago, the G20 Leaders underlined the importance of trade in helping to bring an end to the current global recession.

Wrapping up the Doha Round (but don’t hold your breath) would be a very important element of this.

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