NZ Ambassador to chair WTO dispute settlement body

Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker has welcomed the appointment of Ambassador David Walker to chair the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB). 

David Walker is New Zealand’s Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva. 

The DSB is one of the most important bodies at the WTO. It has overall authority to manage trade disputes between WTO Members, from establishing panels to hear disputes through to overseeing implementation and compliance with recommendations and rulings. 

”Having a New Zealander appointed to this role demonstrates the esteem in which New Zealand and David Walker are held by fellow WTO Members. It also reflects our willingness to contribute to the effective functioning of the organisation, especially in the face of current challenges,” David Parker said. 

In January David Walker was also appointed as facilitator of the separate informal General Council process to address issues raised by WTO Members related to the functioning of the Appellate Body. Its aim is to overcome the current impasse on the selection of Appellate Body members. 

“The proper functioning of the WTO’s dispute settlement system is critical to New Zealand’s interests.  With the Appellate Body down to just three members out of seven, the establishment of the informal General Council process is an important step to advance discussions on reforms,” David Parker said. 

David Walker was appointed as New Zealand’s Permanent Representative to the WTO in 2017. He is a career diplomat and trade specialist, currently posted in Geneva for the third time. He previously served as Permanent Representative to the WTO from 2009-2011. During that time he was also appointed chair of the Doha Round negotiations on agriculture. He was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the State in the 2016 New Year’s Honours list. 

He takes over as DSB chair from Thailand’s Permanent Representative, Ambassador Sunanta Kangvalkulkij, who was appointed chair of the WTO General Council today.