GENEVA, April 21, 2009 – Winston & Strawn LLP announced today that Stuart Harbinson, a well-known and highly regarded former World Trade Organization (WTO) official has joined its Geneva office as a senior trade policy advisor. In this role, Harbinson will apply his significant expertise to the firm's WTO/Trade practice in Geneva.
"This is a key strategic effort for the firm, and we are thrilled that someone of Stuart's caliber and reputation is joining our WTO/Trade practice," said Marc Palay, managing partner of Winston's Geneva office. "His experience will be a tremendous asset for our clients, our recently-strengthened international trade practice and our already highly-regarded Geneva-based international arbitration practice," Palay added. Several international trade lawyers joined the firm last fall from Heller Ehrman in both Hong Kong and Washington, D.C.
Most recently Harbinson was senior advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) where he provided strategic advice and worked to improve UNCTAD's effectiveness and its cooperation with the WTO. Prior to that, he held numerous high profile positions and appointments at the WTO, including special advisor to Director-General Pascal Lamy (2005-07); chief of staff to Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi (2002-05); and represented Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China at ambassadorial level in the WTO in Geneva (1994-2002).
Harbinson was chairman of the WTO's overarching body, the General Council, from 2001-02, where he oversaw preparations for the launch of the Doha Development Agenda. He has also served as chair of the negotiating group responsible for the formative Doha negotiations on agriculture, chair of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), chair of the WTO TRIPs Council, and chair of the WTO Council on Trade in Services. In addition, Harbinson has chaired numerous WTO dispute settlement panels.
In addition to his extensive WTO experience, Harbinson served from 1999-2002 as chairman of the International Textiles and Clothing Bureau, an intergovernmental organization whose membership comprises developing countries with exporting interests in the textiles and clothing field.
Harbinson has also enjoyed a long career as a senior official in the Hong Kong government. In the late 1980s, Harbinson was one of Hong Kong's principal negotiators in the pivotal Uruguay Round. He served as Deputy Secretary for Trade and Industry in 1991-92, with overall responsibility for Hong Kong's trade and industry policy. He also served as Deputy Secretary for the Civil Service from 1992-94, with overall policy responsibility for Hong Kong's 180,000-strong public service.
Harbinson has spoken at numerous conferences (often representing the WTO) and is a frequent author on trade policy issue, with a focus on decision-making practices and agriculture. Harbinson holds a master's degree from Cambridge.