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28 May 1998
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Director-General, Professor Bruce Ross, has been elected by unanimous vote at an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) meeting in Paris this week to take the Chair of the OECD Committee for Agriculture.
This is the first time that the Chair of the Committee has not been held by a representative of either a European Member Country or the United States.
The Committee oversees a work programme that includes the evaluation of agricultural policies and its interaction with trade and environment policies in its member countries.
The period of Professor Ross' chairmanship occurs during the vital preparatory stage leading up to the 1999 World Trade Organisation Agriculture Trade Round, which is of great significance for New Zealand's farming, agricultural and forestry export trade, the source of New Zealand's largest export earnings.
Professor Ross has been involved with the OECD since New Zealand first joined in 1973, when he contributed a report to the organisation on agricultural policies in New Zealand, which formed the basis for an OECD review and report on the issue. In 1983 he was appointed Head of the Trade Analysis Division of the OECD Directorate for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries where he led a group of Economists that carried out analytical work on quantifying the impact that domestic agricultural and agricultural trade policies had on international trade in agricultural commodities. This work was critical to the inclusion of Agriculture in the GATT Uruguay Round which was the first time that Agricultural Trade had been explicitly dealt with in GATT negotiations.
Professor Ross became the Director-General of the Ministry of Agriculture in 1996, then the Director-General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on March 1, this year, when the Agriculture and Forestry ministries merged.