New Zealand’s Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ambassador David Walker has been appointed to chair the WTO General Council.
It is the first time a New Zealander has chaired the General Council, which is the highest-level WTO decision-making body in Geneva.
Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker welcomed Ambassador Walker’s appointment, which comes at a critical time for the WTO.
“As the WTO faces unprecedented challenges, it’s more important than ever that we use our seat at the table to speak clearly on the benefits of open and active trade.
“Ambassador Walker’s appointment demonstrates the ongoing efforts of New Zealand to support the WTO – the key framework underpinning the international rules-based trading system that has served its membership well over the last quarter century,” David Parker said
“It was a testament to Ambassador Walker’s professionalism and integrity, including as DSB Chair, that he secured the confidence of the WTO’s Membership,” David Parker said.
“The Twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference in June in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan, is fast approaching. It will be an important opportunity for WTO members to seek meaningful progress in key areas.
“That includes the successful conclusion of fisheries subsidies negotiations, and outcomes on issues like agriculture subsidies, sustainable trade practices, e-commerce and women’s economic empowerment, as well as ongoing efforts on WTO reform and restoring the functioning of the WTO appellate body,” David Parker said.
Ambassador Walker chaired the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) in 2019 and has previously served as Chair of the Committee on Agriculture in Special Session.
His appointment will run for one year. He replaces Ambassador Sunanta Kangvalkulkij of Thailand.