The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP
The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP

Media release

13 February 2004 - MVT10/2004

New Chairs of WTO Negotiating Groups Appointed in Geneva

Trade Minister Mark Vaile today welcomed the appointment of Ambassador Oshima of Japan as the new chair of the World Trade Organisation General Council.

The WTO General Council meeting in Geneva on 11 February also appointed new chairs to the WTO Doha Round negotiating groups including Australian Ambassador to the WTO David Spencer.

"This is a very welcome signal that WTO members want to reengage in negotiations in order to reach an early and successful conclusion to the Doha Round," Mr Vaile said.

"Now we need to get down to serious negotiations to forge a breakthrough in the development of frameworks for the negotiations."

"Agriculture remains the key to the round and Australia will be working hard with Cairns Group colleagues and other like-minded countries to achieve ambitious agricultural reform. I will chair a Cairns Group ministerial meeting in Costa Rica on 23-25 February where we will develop our strategy for the next stage of negotiations."

Mr Vaile congratulated outgoing General Council chair Perez del Castillo of Uruguay for his valiant efforts in 2003 to keep momentum in the round. Mr Vaile also welcomed the appointment of Australia's Ambassador to the WTO, David Spencer, as chair of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding review negotiating group.

"This appointment reflects the very high regard in which Ambassador Spencer is held in Geneva as well as Australia's well known commitment to a strong multilateral rules-based system for trade that benefits all WTO members."

A full list of new appointments to the WTO General Council is attached.

Media contact: Matthew Doman 02 6277 7420

World Trade Organisation General Council chair appointments

General Council Ambassador Shotaro Oshima (Japan)

Trade Negotiating Committees
Agriculture Ambassador Tim Groser (New Zealand)
Market Access Ambassador Stefan Johannesson (Iceland)
Services Ambassador Alejandro Jara (Chile)
Dispute Settlement Understanding Ambassador David Spencer (Australia)
Rules Ambassador Eduardo Perez Motta (Mexico)
TRIPs Ambassador Manzoor Ahmad (Pakistan)
Environment Ambassador Toufiq Ali (Bangladesh)
Trade and Development Mr Faizel Ismail (South Africa)

WTO Bodies
Dispute Settlement Body Ambassador Amina Mohamed (Kenya)
Trade Policy Review Ambassador Puangrat Asavapisit (Thailand)
Council for Trade in Goods Ambassador Alfredo Chiaradia (Argentina)
Council for Trade in Services Ambassador Peter Brno (Slovak Republic)
TRIPs Council Mr Joshua Law (Hong Kong, China)
Committee on Trade and Environment Ambassador Naela Gabr (Egypt)
Committee on Trade and Development Ambassador Trevor Clarke (Barbados)
Committee on Balance of Payments Mr Giulio Tonini (Italy)
Committee on Regional Trading Arrangements Ambassador Ronald Saborio Soto (Costa Rica)
Budget, Finance and Administration Committee Ambassador Henrik Ree Iversen (Denmark)
Working Group on Transfer of Technology Ambassador Jaynarain Meetoo (Mauritius)
Working Group on Trade, Debt and Finance Ambassador Peter Balas (Hungary)

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