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Roger George Weston: 27 July 1954-21 November 2015.

The family of the New Zealand Customs Service were shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of trade specialist, Roger Weston, aged 61. Roger started with Customs on 4 December 1972 and made an enormous contribution over his more than 40 years' service.

Roger's funeral service was held on 26 November 2015 at the Greek Orthodox Church in Wellington. The following tributes are extracts from the eulogies and include messages from Roger's Customs and New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) colleagues, as well as his counterparts from other countries.

Roger was a Customs expert in international trade issues ranging from matters of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), World Customs Organisation and Asia--Pacific Economic Co-operation. His intricate knowledge of technical subjects such as the tariff, valuation, rules of origin, non-tariff measures, customs legislation and international best practices and standards was immeasurable. This included a substantial contribution to forming New Zealand's negotiating position on the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation concluded in 2013.

Over the last decade or so, Roger has been providing Customs input to the negotiation of free trade agreements. This has included negotiations with Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership involving seventeen other countries. This was tiring and demanding work that involved many trips abroad and much time away from his family. Roger was a fine ambassador for New Zealand on each of these occasions.

Officials at Customs and other agencies relied on Roger extensively for technical input on trade policy issues. His personal charisma ensured that working relationships with our negotiating partners were maintained even in the most difficult circumstances. There is no doubt that officials on the other side of the negotiating table recognised his conscientious and fair minded character, and responded to his positive approach.

To his MFAT colleagues, Roger was the complete professional and regarded as part of the MFAT family. Roger's recent contribution to the achievement of New Zealand's trade targets under the WTO environmental goods agreement and the successful delivery of key global trade initiatives were significant advancements.

Roger's negotiation of customs and origin rules made a genuine difference, not just for New Zealand Customs, and brought real economic benefits to New Zealand. He served New Zealand's trade interests honourably and leaves a lasting legacy. Personally, he was a gentleman of the highest order and will be deeply missed. His passing is a loss not only to Customs but also to the international trade community.

Carolyn Tremain

Chief Executive

New Zealand Customs Service

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Author:Tremain, Carolyn
Publication:New Zealand International Review
Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Mar 1, 2016
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