New Zealand Permanent Mission Geneva, Switzerland
Vangelis Vitalis, Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organisation
Vangelis Vitalis is currently New Zealand’s Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation in Geneva. He studied politics and economics at Auckland University and Harvard. Before taking up his role in Geneva, Vangelis was New Zealand’s Ambassador to the European Union, NATO and Sweden (2011-2015) in Brussels and before that he was Deputy High Commissioner to Australia (2009-2011). Vangelis was also the Chief Negotiator who led the New Zealand teams which concluded the regional ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and a separate bilateral free trade agreement with Malaysia (MNZFTA, 2009). Vangelis was also the Lead Negotiator on the investment chapter of New Zealand’s FTA with China, as well as for the treaty-level trade and labour and trade and environment instruments concluded with China alongside the FTA (2008).
In 2012, Vangelis was appointed to lead the (currently suspended) FTA negotiations with the Customs Union of Russia Belarus and Kazakhstan. He has also worked as a senior New Zealand negotiator at the WTO (2004-9) as well as on the economic modelling for the New Zealand-China FTA Joint Study (2004). During his time outside the New Zealand Foreign Service, Vangelis worked as an economist at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) where he was the Chief Economic Adviser to the Ministerial Round Table on Sustainable Development (2001-2004) and was a member of the International Economics Expert Group advising the OECD Ministerial Task Force on IUU Fishing (2004-6). Vangelis was also a member of the team of economists which developed a partial equilibrium model to assess the impact of WTO accession on the Russian agriculture sector (1999-2000). During this time, he worked with Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan on trade, development and agriculture issues related to those countries’ WTO accession applications.
Vangelis has published extensively, including on the relationship between trade, competition and agriculture; the economics of sustainable development; and the relationship between trade, innovation and economic growth. His most recent publication (April 2015) is an ADBI Working Paper assessing how and whether bilateral and plurilateral trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific can support the WTO/multilateralism.
Currently, Vangelis is Chair of the OECD Committee on Trade and Environment, he has chaired the OECD Global Forum on Trade and Climate Change and is the New Zealand Government’s Special Envoy for the Small Advanced Economies’ Initiative.
A keen salt water fisherman and supporter of the Wellington Phoenix, Olympiakos and the New Zealand All Whites football teams, Vangelis speaks Greek, German and Russian and is married with three children.