New Zealand Permanent Mission Geneva, Switzerland

John Adank, Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organisation

Ambassador John Adank has served as New Zealand’s Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organisation since April 2011.  Immediately prior to his appointment Mr Adank served from 2007 as Director of the Pacific Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Wellington.

An international lawyer by background, Mr Adank’s professional career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade commenced in 1986 on his appointment as a Legal Adviser in the Ministry’s Legal Division, specialising in a range of international trade and economic issues, including fisheries and Law of the Sea related matters.

Mr Adank’s first posting with MFAT from 1990 to 1994 was to the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York where he represented New Zealand on the UNGA First (Disarmament), Second (Economic and Social Issues) and Sixth (Legal) Committees, as well as on United Nations Security Council subsidiary bodies during New Zealand’s 1993-94 term on the Council. 

On returning from New York in 1994, Mr Adank was appointed as a Senior Policy/Legal Officer, and subsequently Counsellor in MFAT Legal Division, responsible for economic and trade issues, including New Zealand’s implementation of the outcome of the GATT Uruguay Round.   During this period he led New Zealand’s delegation to the UN Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks negotiations as well as the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee.  He also acted as principal MFAT legal advisor for the ANZ Closer Economic Relations negotiations on Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition and Food Standards arrangements. 

Mr Adank was appointed as Counsellor/Deputy Permanent Representative to the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations and World Trade Organisation, Geneva, from 1997 to 2001.  Returning to Wellington in 2001, Mr Adank took up appointment as New Zealand’s International Trade Law Adviser.

From 2004 to 2007 Mr Adank was New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Samoa, also serving concurrently as Consul General to American Samoa.

During his term as Director of MFAT’s Pacific Division from 2007 to 2011, he led New Zealand delegations to and was also appointed as chair to a range of Pacific regional meetings including meetings on Pacific Islands officials on PACER Plus, the Forum Regional Security Committee and the Pacific Islands Forum Officials Committee.

Mr Adank has extensive WTO dispute settlement experience, and has represented New Zealand as lead counsel in both WTO Panel and Appellate Body hearings.  He has also served as a panellist on a number of WTO Panels, most recently serving as Chair of the China/US GOES Dispute and continues to serve as a panellist on the US-EC Airbus Panel. 

In 2011 following his most recent appointment to Geneva Mr Adank was appointed as Chair of the WTO Negotiating Committee on Agriculture.

Mr Adank has a Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours from the University of Canterbury, and has been admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.

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