The New Zealand government announced Thursday that World Trade Organization (WTO) members had reached a consensus to appoint the country's WTO ambassador as the new chair of the Doha Round agriculture negotiations.
Trade Minister Tim Groser said WTO Ambassador John Adank was expected to be formally elected chair at the next meeting of the Special Session of the Committee on Agriculture on Nov. 17-18.
"The Doha negotiations are facing grave challenges. Ten years of effort have not been able to bridge differences. At a ministerial conference in Geneva in mid-December the membership will have to determine the best way forward," Groser said in a statement.
"But there have been very important gains, especially in agriculture, and it is essential that these are protected as we move ahead."
Adank would be the fourth successive New Zealander to chair the agriculture negotiations, succeeding Dr David Walker, who returned to New Zealand earlier this year to become deputy secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said the statement.
Adank's appointment as New Zealand's ambassador and permanent representative to the WTO in Geneva was announced in November last year and he took up his appointment in April this year.
Adank had previously been the deputy permanent representative to the WTO and UN in Geneva and had served as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade international trade law adviser in Wellington.
His previous postings include assignments to the New Zealand Permanent Mission in New York and appointment as High Commissioner to Samoa. In 2007, he was appointed director of the Pacific Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.