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Yonov Frederick Agah
Yonov Frederick Agah was appointed as Nigeria’s Ambassador to the WTO in 2005. In that capacity, he served as the Alternate Chief Negotiator for the Doha Round and Head of Nigeria's Trade Office to the WTO in the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations Office in Geneva. The Trade Office is responsible for Nigeria’s participation in Geneva-based trade-related international organizations, particularly the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the World Intellectual Property Organisation, the International Trade Centre and the WTO.
Mr Agah served as Chair of the WTO's General Council in 2011. He was responsible for organizing the Eighth WTO Ministerial Conference, which was acknowledged to be successful despite the prevailing stalemate in the Doha Round. He has also served as Chair of the following WTO bodies: Dispute Settlement Body in 2010, the Council for Trade in Services in 2009, the Trade Policy Review Body in 2008, the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights in 2007, and the Council for Trade in Goods in 2006. He was also the Chair of the Council for TRIPS, Special Session, in 2013.
Mr Agah has previously worked as a lecturer at Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna (1979-81), senior features writer/circulation manager, Benue Printing and Publishing Corporation (1982-84), Sales Manager, Benue Bottling Company Limited (1984-87), Field Manager, UTC Nigeria PLC (1990-91), Deputy Director (multilateral) (1991-2001) and Director (external trade) (2002-05).
Mr Agah holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Economics from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. He obtained a Master of Business Administration and Doctor of Philosophy in Economics (International Trade) from the University of Jos, Nigeria, in 1989 and 2007 respectively. His doctoral dissertation was on “Trade Policy Reform and Economic Growth in Nigeria Since 1986”. Mr Agah also obtained a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Abuja, Nigeria, in 2009. He has contributed to various books and journals.
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Karl Brauner has been Deputy Director-General of the WTO since 2013.
Prior to that, he held the position of Director General for external economic policy in the German Federal Ministry of Economics in Berlin for 12 years. In that role he was responsible for all the instruments of export promotion and was also in charge of export controls. His area of responsibility comprised all of Germany's bilateral economic relations outside the EU.
Regarding EU issues, he served as Germany’s representative in the European Union’s Trade Policy Committee whose role is to determine the EU's trade policy. He has taken part in all WTO ministerial conferences since the launch of the Doha Development Agenda.
He is a lawyer by profession, with degrees from Germany and the United Kingdom (Cambridge). He started his career in the legal department of the Federal Ministry of Economics in Bonn in 1983. In 1986-87, he worked at the German Mission to the United Nations in New York. Further postings abroad were in Athens and Sydney.
Before being put in charge of trade policy in 2001, his responsibilities at the Ministry of Economics in Berlin comprised a range of issues, such as budget, human resources and general administration.
At the WTO, Karl Brauner's areas of responsibility include the two legal divisions dealing with the WTO's dispute settlement system (Rules and Legal Affairs), the division for administration and general services including budget and finance as well as the human resources division.
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David Shark has had a long career in trade policy. He began in 1975 with a short stint in the US Department of Labor, working on petitions for trade adjustment assistance. In March 1976, he moved to the Office of Trade Policy in the Department of Commerce where he was deeply involved in the Tokyo Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and he has been actively involved in the GATT and WTO ever since.
In 1980, he joined the Office of the United States Trade Representative. He held a broad range of responsibilities, including serving as Executive Director of the US Generalized System of Preferences, Deputy Assistant US Trade Representative for Trade Policy Coordination, Deputy Assistant US Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East and Deputy Assistant US Trade Representative for Environment and Natural Resources.
From 1988 to 1995 he served in USTR’s Geneva office, working on the Uruguay Round of Trade Negotiations and the implementation of the resulting agreements. During that time, he was responsible for negotiations and other work on the agreement creating the WTO, the Dispute Settlement Understanding, TRIMs/investment, anti-dumping, subsidies, customs valuation, government procurement, technical barriers to trade, import licensing, trade and environment, and trade and worker rights. He returned to Geneva in June 2000 and up to September 2013 served as the US Deputy Chief of Mission and Deputy Permanent Representative to the WTO. In that capacity, he had broad responsibilities covering the full gamut of issues before the WTO.
Mr Shark is a native of Brooklyn, New York, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Brooklyn College and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International Affairs. He is married to Lidian Shark and has two children, Daniel and Melanie.
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Yi Xiaozhun has extensive experience in world trade and economics, both as a senior government official and subsequently as China's ambassador to the WTO.
He represented China as a key negotiator in China’s WTO accession process, making an important contribution to the negotiations.
Prior to becoming China's ambassador to the WTO in 2011, Mr Yi was Assistant Minister and subsequently China's Vice Minister of Commerce in charge of multilateral and regional trade negotiations and cooperation. Besides his contribution to China’s WTO accession, he played a leading role in negotiating numerous free trade agreements (FTAs), including the China-ASEAN agreement, China's first FTA, and advanced China's involvement with Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the 10+3 East Asia Summit (EAS) and related high-level meetings. He also worked as a diplomat at the Chinese Embassy in the United States for more than four years from the late 1980s to the early 1990s.
After becoming China’s ambassador to the WTO, Mr Yi was elected as the Chair of the Working Party of the Accession of Lao PDR and showed effective leadership in the process leading to WTO membership for Laos.
Mr Yi obtained a Master's degree in economics from Nankai University in China in 1999.
He is married to Meng Xiaoling and has one daughter.
Director-General Roberto Azevêdo (centre), accompanied by (from left to right) DDG Yi Xiaozhun, Karl Brauner, DDG David Shark, DDG Yonov Frederick Agah and Tim Yeend, Chef de Cabinet.