New Zealand ambassador to chair WTO agriculture negotiations

New Zealand’s ambassador to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Vangelis Vitalis, has been appointed as the new chair of the WTO Doha Round agriculture negotiations by WTO members.

Tim GroserTrade Minister Tim Groser announced earlier that Vitalis was formally elected chair at a meeting of the Special Session of the Committee on Agriculture held in Geneva today.

“I am very pleased that the WTO membership have once again underlined their trust and confidence in New Zealand’s WTO Ambassador for the role as chair of the agriculture negotiations”, Groser said.

“The Doha negotiations are facing grave challenges. Fourteen years of effort have not been able to bridge differences. At a Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya in December, the WTO membership will have to determine the best way forward. Agriculture will be a key element in any outcomes reached.

“The appointment of Ambassador Vitalis highlights that WTO members recognise that New Zealand can continue to make a constructive contribution in this area and I wish him all the best for this crucial new role,” said the Minister.

Vitalis, who will replace outgoing Ambassador John Adank, is the fifth successive New Zealander to chair the agriculture negotiations.

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