Dr Faizel Ismail has a PhD from the University of Manchester, MPhil from the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex, and an LLB and a BA degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg) in South Africa. His PhD, for which he obtained an A grade pass, is titled: An Empirical Analysis of Apartheid South Africa in the GATT: 1947 to 1994.
He is currently an adjunct professor at the UCT School of Economics and is also an adviser/consultant (part-time) to the Department of Trade and Industry on International Trade and a Special Envoy on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). He was appointed as the Chairperson of the International Trade and Administration Commission (ITAC) for a 3-year term (2015-2018).
Dr Ismail has served as the Ambassador Permanent Representative of South Africa to the WTO (2010-2014). Prior to this, he was the Deputy Director-General for International Trade and Economic Development (ITED) in the Department of Trade and Industry. As South Africa’s Chief Trade Negotiator since 1994, he led the new democratic South Africa’s trade negotiations with the European Union, Southern African Development Community (SADC), Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and several other bilateral trading partners, including the United States, India and Brazil. He has led South Africa’s negotiations in the WTO from 2002 to 2014.
He has served as the Chair of the WTO Committee on Trade and Development negotiating group (CTDSS) for 2 years (2004-2006), the Chair of the WTO Committee on Trade and Development (CTD) for 1 year (2006/7) and the Chair of the WTO Committee on Trade, Debt and Finance (WGTDF) for 2 years (2012-2014). He has also served as Chair of the Annual Meeting of the International Trade Centre (ITC), Geneva.
Dr Ismail is the author of two books on the WTO: Mainstreaming Development in the WTO. Developing Countries in the Doha Round (2007) and Reforming the World Trade Organization. Developing Countries in the Doha Round (2009), the latter of which has also been translated into Chinese (2011). He has published over 50 articles, chapters and working papers in international journals and books on economic development and trade and development issues.