TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Apr17/07)
17 April 2017
Third World Network

General Council approves Chairs of WTO bodies for this year
Published in SUNS #8441 dated 11 April 2017

Geneva, 10 Apr (Kanaga Raja) - The General Council of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), at its meeting on 7 April, finally agreed the full slate of chairpersons of its various WTO bodies for this year.

Earlier, at its meeting on 28 February, the General Council approved by consensus Ambassador Xavier Carim of South Africa as its Chair for 2017, and Ambassador Junichi Ihara of Japan as Chair of the Dispute Settlement Body (see SUNS #8413 dated 2 March 2017).

However, an impasse emerged over the slate of chairpersons for the remaining WTO bodies after the major industrialised countries - the European Union and Canada together with their allies - blocked the nomination by the Asian Group of Ms Irene B. K. Young of Hong Kong-China as Chair of the Doha agriculture negotiating body on grounds of affiliation with China. (See SUNS #8434 dated 31 March 2017 and SUNS #8439 dated 7 April 2017).

At its meeting on 7 April, the General Council formally agreed on Ambassador Stephen Karau of Kenya to chair the Committee on Agriculture in Special Session.

Ambassador Karau was formerly chairing the Special Session of the Dispute Settlement Body. This body will now be chaired by Ambassador Coly Seck of Senegal.

The full slate of chairs of the regular WTO bodies for this year are as follows:

* Trade Policy Review Body: Ambassador Juan Carlos Gonzalez of Colombia

* Council for Trade in Goods: Ambassador Kyonglim Choi of South Korea

* Council for Trade in Services: Ambassador Julian Braithwaite of the United Kingdom

* Council for TRIPS: Ms Irene Young of Hong Kong-China

* Committee on Trade and Development: Ambassador Taonga Mushayavanhu of Zimbabwe

* Committee on Balance-of-Payments Restrictions: Ambassador Tudor Ulianovschi of the Republic of Moldova

* Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration: Ambassador Peter Brno of Slovak Republic

* Committee on Trade and Environment: Ambassador Zhanar Aitzhanova of Kazakhstan

* Committee on Regional Trade Agreements: Ambassador Walid Doudech of Tunisia

* Working Group on Trade and Transfer of Technology: Ambassador Zorica Maric-Djordjevic of Montenegro

* Committee on Trade Facilitation: Ambassador Daniel Blockert of Sweden.