9:16 AM May 13, 1993


Geneva 13 May (TWN) -- The Chairman of the GATT Contracting Parties, Balkrishna Zutshi of India, told the GATT Council Thursday of the state of his 'consultations' on the choice of a successor to Arthur Dunkel as Director-General of GATT and hoped a decision could be taken on the issue soon.

Zutshi told the Council that he had received three official nominations; that of Peter Sutherland of Ireland, sponsored by the Irish government and backed by Denmark as the current EC president, and Amb. Julio Lacarte of Uruguay and Amb. Luis Fernando Jaramillo of Colombia, both sponsored by the governments of the Latin American and Caribbean group in the GATT.

Earlier this week, Zutshi had met the informal group of developing countries to advise them of the nominations and also the views and expectations of Sutherland (who is asking for the post to be equated to that of the heads of the IMF and the World Bank in terms of salaries and conditions of service, whereas currently they are governed by those of the UN system).

In the discussions in the informal group, Chile supported by a few others reportedly said that all the three candidates should be asked to appear before the informal group so that their views on the GATT and the issues before could be ascertained directly. This was presumably a reference to the GATT cps being advised by Sutherland of his views via the interviews in the British media.

Some countries hwoever cautioned the need for care in this matter, and the issue not being treated like 'interviews for jobs to prospective candidates".

Some African countries are also reported to have said that they might come up with a nominee. The name of the Zimbabwe minister, Bernard Chidzero who was formerly a Deputy Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (and thus with some experience of multilateral trade diplomacy) is being mentioned in this connection. But it is not clear whether he was agreable to have his name put forward.

Some developing country delegates though think that none of the other nominees or potential nominees are seen as 'serious', but advanced by countries and groups in relation to the other appointments like those of the Deputy Directors-General and regional representations and demands for it.