Faizel Ismail has a PhD (Manchester, UK), MPhil (IDS, Sussex, UK), LLB (UKZN-Pietermaritzburg) and a BA (UKZN-Pietermaritzburg). 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.
Faizel is currently an Adjunct Professor at the UCT School of Economics. He is also an advisor/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 three-year term (2015-2018).
He 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 (EU), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and several other bilateral trading partners including the US, 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 two years (2004-2006), the Chair of the WTO Committee on Trade and Development (CTD) for one year (2006/7) and the Chair of the WTO Committee on Trade, Debt and Finance (WGTDF) for two years (2012-2014). He has also served as Chair of the Annual Meeting of the International Trade Centre (ITC), Geneva.
He 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 book has 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.