Karl Brauner began his first term as Deputy Director-General of the WTO on 1 October 2013. He has been reappointed for a second four-year term, starting on 1 October 2017. Prior to joining the WTO, he held the position of Director General for external economic policy in the German Federal Ministry of Economics in Berlin for 12 years. In that role he was responsible for all the instruments of export promotion and was also in charge of export controls. His area of responsibility comprised all of Germany's bilateral economic relations outside the EU.
Regarding EU issues, he served as Germany’s representative in the European Union’s Trade Policy Committee whose role is to determine the EU's trade policy. He has taken part in all WTO ministerial conferences since the launch of the Doha Development Agenda.
He is a lawyer by profession, with degrees from Germany and the United Kingdom (Cambridge). He started his career in the legal department of the Federal Ministry of Economics in Bonn in 1983. In 1986-87, he worked at the German Mission to the United Nations in New York. Further postings abroad were in Athens and Sydney.
Before being put in charge of trade policy in 2001, his responsibilities at the Ministry of Economics in Berlin comprised a range of issues, such as budget, human resources and general administration.
At the WTO, Karl Brauner's areas of responsibility include the two legal divisions dealing with the WTO's dispute settlement system (Rules and Legal Affairs), the division for administration and general services including budget and finance as well as the human resources division.