Chair of WTO agriculture negotiations announces he will step down on June 30, 2020

At a virtual meeting of the Committee on Agriculture in Special Session on 25 May, the Chair of the Committee, Ambassador John Deep Ford (Guyana), informed WTO members that his term as Chair will come to an end on  June 30, as he will be leaving Geneva.

Ambassador John Deep Ford

Ambassador Ford has chaired the special session over the past two years and was the first Ambassador from Latin America and the Caribbean to hold this position.

Ambassador Ford said that Guyana had been committed to chairing the agriculture negotiations up to the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12), which was due to take place in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, in June 2020. However, following the postponement of the Ministerial Conference for at least one year, he considered it appropriate for a new chair to be appointed as soon as possible to establish a new work programme in the run-up to MC12, taking into consideration the consequences of COVID-19 and the extended period for negotiations.

Ambassador Ford said he had spent most of his working life as a public servant, in various national and international organizations, and that he looked forward to “continuing to contribute to advancing food security, agricultural trade interests and a more open, transparent and fairer global trading system”.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) deals with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.