New Zealand Permanent Mission Geneva, Switzerland


The New Zealand Permanent Representative to the WTO in Geneva Vangelis Vitalis formally delivered on the 29 September 2015 New Zealand’s instrument of acceptance of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) to WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo.


New Zealanders will have a fifth choice in the first postal referendum to rank potential alternative flag designs, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says.

“Parliament has voted by an overwhelming majority to have an additional, fifth option added to the first postal referendum ballot paper with the passing of the New Zealand Flag Referendums Amendment Bill.


Trade Minister Tim Groser announced on 9 September that the members of the World Trade Organisation have appointed New Zealand’s WTO Ambassador, Vangelis Vitalis, as the new Chair of the WTO Doha Round agriculture negotiations. Mr Vitalis was formally elected Chair at a meeting of the Special Session of the Committee on Agriculture held in Geneva.


The Flag Consideration Panel has announced the four alternative flag designs for New Zealanders to rank in the first binding referendum. The designs can be viewed at


New Zealand is serving as President of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) from Monday 24 August to Friday 18 September 2015.  In accordance with the rotational system used in the CD, each of the 65 members holds the presidency about once each decade.  As the final President of the CD for 2015 New Zealand has responsibility for drafting and achieving agreement on a consensus report on the CD’s activities for the year, and for drafting the annual CD resolution for adoption at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.


The City of Sierre, in collaboration with Mr Bernard Bosque and the Katherine Mansfield Society, will commemorate the stay of the New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield in Montana and the Hotel Bellevue in Sierre in 1921 and 1922 with its event “Traces of Katherine Mansfield”.  The commemoration will feature an exposition with visits, lectures and discussions over 11 to 16 August.

Further information about the programme can be found on the attached flyer - Please click here.


Earlier this week the New Zealand Mission to the WTO in Geneva deposited New Zealand’s accession to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) with the World Trade Organisation.  This finalised New Zealand’s accession to the GPA, which will come into effect for New Zealand on 12 August 2015.  New Zealand’s accession follows two years of negotiations in Geneva.


The New Zealand Permanent Mission to the WTO recently participated in the World Trade Organisation’s fifth Trade Policy Review of New Zealand.  The Trade Policy Review Mechanism is a core pillar of the WTO framework that enables Members to report and receive feedback on trade policy developments at regular intervals. While the focus of the review is on the WTO framework of rules it also looks more broadly at trade and economic policy developments more generally.


The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Business New Zealand, and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions  are taking part in the annual International Labour Conference in Geneva.  This is the ILO’s most important event of the year, attended by some 3,000 delegates including labour ministers and leaders of workers' and employers' organisations from 185 countries.


Hon Michael Woodhouse visited Geneva for two days this week as the head of the New Zealand Government delegation to the International Labour Conference.  In addition to his engagements at the Conference, Minister Woodhouse met with a range of ministerial counterparts from around the world, and met with the ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, the International Organisation of Migration Director-General Bill Swing, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres.

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