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Goff names new Ambassador to WTO

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

16 June 2005

Goff names new Ambassador to WTO

New Zealand's next Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation will be career diplomat Crawford Falconer, Foreign Minister Phil Goff announced today.

Mr Falconer is currently Chief Trade Negotiator at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Wellington. In that position he has overall responsibility for policy advice to the government on the overall conduct of New Zealand's multilateral trade negotiations in the WTO, as well as the current series of bilateral Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

"Crawford Falconer has a strong reputation in international trade circles. He was a negotiator in the Uruguay Round, and he has been called on to serve as panellist or chair in more than a dozen dispute settlement cases under the GATT and WTO," Mr Goff said.

"In recent years he has been active in a group of senior officials guiding the WTO process, and was recently been appointed chair of the OECD Trade Committee."

Mr Goff said Mr Falconer is a respected and influential diplomat whose skills would be invaluable in leading New Zealand's negotiating effort in Geneva as the Doha negotiations entered their final stages.

"The critical phase in the WTO negotiations lies just ahead of us. Having strong representation in Geneva through this period will be important, and Mr Falconer brings to the task a background of considerable experience and expertise."

Mr Falconer has previously served as Principal Trade Policy Advisor and as Director of the Trade Negotiations Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He was part of New Zealand's delegation to the GATT in Geneva during the Uruguay Round from 1986 to 1991, and from 1995 to 2000 he was Deputy Director of the Trade Directorate of the OECD in Paris.

Since 2002, Mr Falconer has been New Zealand's senior Wellington-based official for the Doha Round. He has accompanied the Trade Negotiations Minister to the major WTO ministerial events, including Cancun and the smaller ministerial meetings that have been central in moving the Doha Round forward.

Mr Falconer will take up his Geneva-based position as Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the WTO in August.

ENDS

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