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New Zealander appointed as WTO committee chair

New Zealander appointed as WTO committee chair

New Zealand has been chosen to chair the negotiating group for one of the key issues in the new round of trade negotiations in the World Trade Organisation, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton announced today.

Mr Sutton said the appointment of New Zealand's Geneva-based ambassador to the WTO Tim Groser to head the rules committee was an indication of the high regard with which New Zealand was held.

"It's a real feather in our cap. The rules mandate that will be managed by New Zealand covers some particularly sensitive issues, such as anti-dumping and subsidies provisions. This appointment shows that WTO members have recognised New Zealand's ability to manage one of the critical negotiations in the new round."

Mr Groser will chair the negotiations on WTO rules until the fifth Ministerial conference in Mexico in 2003.

Mr Sutton said that now the chairs of all the committees had been appointed, he hoped officials from the WTO's 140 member nations would begin swiftly to work through all the issues raised by the negotiating text approved by the ministerial meeting at Doha last year.

"Objectives set out in the Doha text, such as the reduction in agricultural subsidies, will benefit many countries when they are achieved. Developed agricultural exporting nations such as New Zealand will be assisted. Developing countries, most of whose people are engaged in agriculture and food production, will be thrown an economic lifeline."


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