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New China FTA negotiator appointed

New China FTA negotiator appointed

Career diplomat David Walker has been appointed lead negotiator for New Zealand on the China free trade talks, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade chief executive Simon Murdoch said today.

He replaces Charles Finny, who will shortly be taking up an appointment as chief executive of the Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Dr Walker is currently the Ministry’s principal adviser for economic policy and lead negotiator on the P3 trade talks with Chile and Singapore. He also serves on the board of the New Zealand Committee of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC).

Previously, Dr Walker was deputy head of mission at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington. As New Zealand’s APEC senior official during 1999, when New Zealand was APEC Chair, Dr Walker had frequent contact with Chinese trade officials.

He has had several other senior trade policy roles, including a secondment as strategic issues manager at Telecom.

“David Walker is one of New Zealand’s most experienced trade negotiators and a senior diplomat. He is ideally qualified to lead our trade talks with China,” Mr Murdoch said.

“Charles Finny has given excellent service to the Ministry and we wish him all the best in his new role.” Dr Walker takes up his position early in the new year.

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