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Assembly Approves New Trade and Development Chief

General Assembly Approves Appointment of New UN Trade and Development Chief

New York, May 11 2005 6:00PM

The United Nations General Assembly today confirmed Secretary-General Kofi Annan's choice to be head of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), former World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi.

Dr. Supachai, a national of Thailand, will serve a term of four years at UNCTAD from 1 September of this year to 31 August 2009.

He was elected WTO chief in September 1999 and took that position on 1 September 2002.

He completed his doctoral dissertation, later published as a textbook, at what is now Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on Human Resource Planning and Development under the supervision of the first Nobel economics laureate, Professor Jan Tinbergen.

Dr. Supachai went on to work at the Bank of Thailand until 1986, devising measures to bail out troubled financial institutions in the early 1980s and was instrumental in passing legislation to abolish non-formal and illegal financial institutions. He also helped to impose the fiscal disciplines that allowed Thailand to achieve a high economic growth rate for years.

From 1997 Dr. Supachai, as Minister of Commerce, relaxed Thailand's restrictions on foreign participation and ownership and revised the Alien Business Law. He brought the country's accounting standards into line with international practices to enhance and ensure transparency in the economic system.

In 2000, Dr. Supachai was awarded the Nikkei Asia Prize for Regional Growth.

ENDS

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