WTO news: what’s been happening in the WTO

16 August 2002

Director-General designate

WTO DG Designate Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi selects deputies

World Trade Organization Director-General Designate Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi today (16 August) announced his selection of four persons who will serve as his Deputy Directors-General for three years commencing on 1 October 2002.

Following consultations with WTO Member Governments, Dr Supachai selected the following deputies: Messrs. Roderick Abbott; Dr Kipkorir Aly Azad Rana; Francisco Thompson-Flôres; and Rufus H. Yerxa.

Dr Supachai, who takes up his official duties as Director-General on 1 September 2002, hoped that his new deputies would be able to start familiarizing themselves with their work in September alongside the current Deputy Directors-General, in order to ensure continuity during the transitional period. The current deputies, whose terms of office expire on 30 September 2002, are: Messrs. Ablassé Ouedraogo; Paul-Henri Ravier; Miguel Rodriguez Mendoza; and Andrew Stoler.

Dr Supachai expressed his gratitude for the dedication shown by the current Deputy Directors-General and his full confidence in the new team. “I am sure that the new Deputies, together with the current Directors and staff of the WTO, will carry forward the work of the Organization very effectively and be able to meet and overcome the many challenges that lie ahead,” he said.

Roderick Abbott
Biographical Note

In a 40-year career with the Board of Trade, London, and later (since 1973) with the EC Commission, Roderick Abbott has been involved in almost every aspect of multilateral trade policy, with particular emphasis on negotiations and trade disputes.

Until recently he was the deputy Director General in DG Trade at the Commission, and before that Ambassador/Head of Delegation in Geneva from 1996 to 2000. In that capacity he has attended each of the four WTO Ministerial Conferences so far, from Singapore to Doha, and he was heavily engaged in the work of the new WTO Dispute Settlement Body, especially some of the important early cases such as the EC banana import regime.

During the 1990s and the Uruguay Round he was a member of the Commission steering group, with oversight of the EC negotiating positions across the board, and in the final stages was the lead negotiator for the tariff negotiations. He presented the first three Trade Policy Reviews of the EC in the period 1991-95.

During the 1980s he was regularly a participant in QUAD meetings of Trade Ministers, and attended the GATT Ministerial meetings in 1982 and 1984. He was lead Commission negotiator for the GATT aspects of EC enlargements in 1981 and 1985 ( and again in 1995). He was Commission representative on the OECD Trade Committee, later also in the ECSS, and attended the UNCTAD conference in Belgrade, 1981.

He was a participant in the Tokyo Ministerial meeting that launched the Tokyo Round in 1973 and during the negotiations (1975 to 1979) was attached to the EC delegation in Geneva, with special responsibility for non-tariff barrier agreements, quantitative restrictions and for negotiating new rules on safeguard measures.

He was first posted in Geneva in the late 1960s, during the implementation phase of the Kennedy Round, and was Chairman of the GATT Balance of Payments committee in 1970-71.

Roderick Abbott received a BA from Oxford University in 1962 (“Greats”).

Kipkorir Aly Azad Rana
Biographical Note

Kipkorir Aly Azad Rana has had a distinguished career in the Government of Kenya serving as a senior representative of his government at various international organizations, including the WTO and the UN. He is currently a global consultant for bilateral and multilateral trade and investment policies and negotiations.

After serving as Deputy Head of Mission in Tokyo (1993-1996), Dr Rana was appointed Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in New York and Alternate Delegate/Coordinator of the Kenyan Delegation to the UN Security Council (1997). He returned briefly to Nairobi in 1998 to serve as Permanent Secretary, Office of the President, Development Coordination, before being appointed Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva (1998-2000).

During the period 1999-2001, Dr Rana served as Coordinator of African Delegations to the WTO; Leader of the Group of Experts from Africa to the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Seattle, USA; Leader of the Delegation to the Kenya Trade Policy Review at the WTO; and Senior Trade Policy Advisor to the Minister for Trade and Industry.

Dr Rana has represented his Government at numerous international meetings and conferences, including UNCTAD X in Bangkok, Thailand (2000); G15 Summit Meetings in Cairo, Egypt, (1998) and in Jamaica (2000); International Telecommunication Union Plenipotentiary Conference in Kyoto, Japan (1994) and in Minneapolis, USA (1998); and the 3rd UN Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in Vienna, Austria (1999) where he was Leader of the National Delegation.

Dr Rana’s academic qualifications include a Master of Political Science (1975) and a Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of California at Los Angeles (1990).

Francisco Thompson-Flôres
Biographical Note

Francisco Thompson-Flôres has extensive experience as a diplomat and trade negotiator for the Brazilian Government. He is currently Ambassador in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Mr Thompson-Flôres joined the Ministry of External Affairs in 1959, specializing in economic and trade affairs, and was appointed Under-Secretary-General of the Ministry from 1985-1988. He has served as a diplomat at the Brazilian Embassies in London (1961-1964), Brussels (1964-1967) and Washington (1973-1976), and as Ambassador in Buenos Aires (1988-1992), in Bonn (1992-1995), to the Holy See (1995-1998), and in Montevideo since 2000.

During the period 1979-1999, Mr Thompson-Flôres also served as Secretary for Economic and Technical International Cooperation, Secretariat of Planning, Presidency of the Republic (1979); Coordinator of International Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture (1979-1983); and Personal Representative of the President of the Republic on matters concerning the Latin-America and the Caribbean-European Union Summit (1998-1999).

Mr Thompson-Flôres has extensive experience as a trade negotiator serving as: Founding Member of the Cairns Group; Chief Negotiator within the framework of the negotiating process between Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, leading to the creation of Mercosur (1985-1988); Member of the Advisory Committee for Integration Affairs of the Presidency of Inter-American Development Bank; Member of the Advisory Board of the Mercosur Economic Research Network; and Chairman of the Negotiating Group on Agriculture within the framework of the Free Trade area of the Americas (1999-2000).

Mr Thompson-Flôres’ academic qualifications include a Degree in Philosophy from the University of Poitiers, France, and a Degree in Economics from the London School of Economics, United Kingdom.

Rufus H. Yerxa
Biographical Note

Rufus H. Yerxa is an experienced trade diplomat and lawyer who has served as a senior US trade official in both Republican and Democratic administrations. He has also been staff director of a key Congressional committee on international trade matters and a private attorney.

From 1989 to 1993, Mr. Yerxa was posted in Geneva as the United States Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the GATT, where he represented the United States in regular GATT meetings, disputes and negotiations. In that role he played a vital role in the Uruguay Round Negotiations. In 1993 he returned to Washington to serve as the senior Deputy United States Trade Representative, the administration’s second ranking trade negotiator. In that capacity, he was responsible for completing negotiations on both the NAFTA accord and the Uruguay Round/WTO agreement, as well as for securing Congressional approval of both agreements.

Before joining USTR, Mr. Yerxa had been a leading Congressional expert on international trade. From 1981 to 1989 he was with the Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served as Staff Director of the Trade Subcommittee. He guided the drafting and enactment of several major pieces of trade legislation, including the landmark Omnibus Trade Act of 1988.

Since 1995, Mr. Yerxa has been a practicing lawyer. He spent three years as a Brussels-based partner in a major U.S. law firm, where he represented U.S. clients on European regulatory matters and international trade. In 1998 he joined Monsanto Company, where he served as European General Counsel and later as International Counsel.

Mr. Yerxa received his B.A. from the University of Washington (1973), his J.D. from the University of Puget Sound (1976) and a Masters Degree in International Law from Cambridge University (1977). He is a member of the D.C. and Washington State bars.