The Hon. Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi
President, ICD Program on the Global Economy
Former Secretary-General of the UNCTAD; 7th Director-General of the World Trade Organization
BiographyBorn in Bangkok in 1946, Dr. Supachai received his MA in Econometrics & Development Planning and his PhD in Economic Planning & Development at the Netherlands School of Economics.
At the beginning of his career, Dr. Supachai was involved in banking, taking up a position in the Research Department in the International Finance Division of the Bank of Thailand in 1974. His political career began in 1986 upon his election to the Thai Parliament and subsequent appointment as Deputy Minister of Finance. He left politics two years later and became president of the Thai Military Bank. Dr. Supachai returned to the political environment in 1992, holding the role of Deputy Prime Minister until 1995. During this time he was responsible for the country’s economic and trade policies and represented Thailand at the signing of the Uruguay Round Agreement in 1994.
After a hiatus, Dr. Supachai returned to his role as Deputy Prime Minister in 1997 and was also appointed Minister of Commerce. In September 1999 he was elected Director-General of the World Trade Organization, taking up office in September 2002. After his three-year term at the WTO, Dr. Supachai was appointed Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development, taking up the post in late 2005, and is currently serving his second term in the role after being re-elected in 2009.
Outside of politics, Dr. Supachai has been involved in university teaching, having held roles as visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge and visiting professor at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne. He has published a number of books, including China and the WTO: Changing China, Changing World Trade (2002) and Globalization and Trade in the New Millennium (2001).