Vangelis Vitalis became New Zealand’s Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation in Geneva in September 2015 and was elected to chair the WTO agriculture negotiations, including to the Nairobi WTO Ministerial Conference which eliminated agricultural export subsidies. Prior to moving to Geneva, Vangelis was Ambassador to the European Union, NATO and Sweden and has also had postings to Australia and Russia.
From 2008-2010 Vangelis was the New Zealand Chief Negotiator who led the conclusion of the regional ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the separate free trade agreement with Malaysia. He also worked on the FTA with China and the precursor to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the Pacific-Four FTA. Vangelis is currently the Chief Negotiator for the (currently suspended) FTA negotiations with the Customs Union of Armenia, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Vangelis has worked outside the Ministry, including as an economist at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris and for the International Economics Expert Group on Illegal-Unregulated and Unreported Fishing. Separately, Vangelis was part of a team of economists who helped develop a partial equilibrium model for the Russian agriculture sector. He has also worked with the Republics of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan on similar issues.
In addition to chairing the WTO agriculture negotiations, Vangelis chairs the OECD Committee on Trade and the Environment and has chaired the OECD Global Forum on Trade and Climate Change. Vangelis helped establish the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy reform initiative and is currently the New Zealand Special Envoy for the Small Advanced Economies’ Initiative.
Vangelis speaks Greek, German and Russian and is married with three children. Please note that Vangelis is participating in the World Dairy Conference in a personal capacity The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Agricultural Trade and Trade Policy: What is the future?
Every farmer knows the world is not an easy place to do business, least of all if that business is dairying. The challenges are enormous and while the returns can be significant, more often they are slender and challenging to sustain. This situation is compounded by the distortions which affect global agricultural trade flows, including for the dairy industry. This presentation by New Zealand’s Ambassador to the WTO and current chair of the WTO negotiations on agriculture (speaking strictly in a personal capacity) will consider the state of play in the global negotiations. This will be placed against the background of the ground-breaking Nairobi WTO Ministerial Decision on Export Competition which eliminated agricultural export subsidies and introduced disciplines on “measures with equivalent effect.” The presentation will explain in concrete terms what this means for farmers and traders. The presentation will also look ahead and identify some of the key negotiating issues – many of them long-standing and complex – as well as emerging issues that continue to bedevil the industry in trade policy terms, including private standards and other non-tariff challenges.