May 15, 1986


GENEVA, MAY 13 (IFDA/CHAKRAVARTHI RAGHAVAN) -- The GATT Director-General, Arthur Dunkel, is now expected to be continued in his post as Director-General for a new term of three years, according to GATT sources.

At the same time, procedures are to be worked out, by the next session of the GATT Contracting Parties (CPS), for making appointments to the post of the Director-General of GATT.

Third World Delegations apparently agreed to a new term for Dunkel, but only for another three years, in return for a commitment from the major industrial nations to work out procedures for future appointments of the D.G. and other connected matters.

GATT sources said Tuesday that a consensus had been reached on these two points in consultations on the issue held Monday with heads of delegations by the chairman of the GATT CPS, Amb. Kazuo Chiba of Japan.

The mechanisms for working out procedures for appointing the GATT D.G. are to be established, after further consultations to be held by Chiba.

The current term of Dunkel is due to end on September 30, 1986.

He was appointed in October 1980 for a term of three years, with a proviso for an automatic extension for another three years, unless this was disapproved.

In March, the U.S. EEC and Japan, decided to renew Dunkel's contract, and Chiba thef carried out consultations among a few delegations.

On this basis, Chiba sent gut a letter to GATT delegations, advising them of his intention to propose renewal of Dunkel's contract for three years, with an automatic renewal for another three years, unless there were objections to the contrary.

A number of delegations objected to Chiba's move, and apparently called for consultations on procedures and other wider issues.

Third world delegates have been complaining that GATT, though advocating "transparency" in trade policy by governments, is itself run in the most opaque manner.

"Everything in GATT is ad hoc, and the GATT Secretariat has been largely run for and on behalf of the U.S. and the EEC", third world delegates generally complain.

This complaint is also shared by several of the smaller industrial countries.

The issue itself was brought into the open in march, in the GATT Council, when Egypt openly raised the issue, and wanted to know how the consultations were being carried on and what were the procedures in such matters.

According to third world sources, in the restricted consultations that Chiba had conducted, even several of the third world delegations consulted had raised questions about the procedures to be followed and objected to the manner in which the issue was being handled.

The issue would also appear to have been discussed at a meeting of the informal group of third world countries.

As a result, a large number of third world delegations insisted that proper procedures should now be established over the selection of a Director-General and his appointment by the GATT CPS, and the whole process conducted in a transparent way and well ahead of time, so that governments in capitals could have a full range of choices to decide.

Also, they said the procedures must not only establish how a Director-General is to be appointed, but also how his two deputies should be selected and appointed.

Instead of the current ad hoc procedures, they said, consultations over selection of a Director-General should begin at least one year before the expiry of the term of office, and the appointment made by the GATT CPS on the recommendation of the GATT Council.

The deputies should be appointed by the GATT Council on the recommendation of the GATT Director-General.

There has also been the view that no person should hold the office as GATT Director-General for more than two terms, of say four years each.

Also, the principles of rotation and equitable geographical distribution, followed in all other U.N. agencies and organisations, should also be observed in GATT as far as possible.

Dunkel's predecessor in office was also a Swiss, Olivier Long, and he held his office for a long term, from the mid-60's to 1980.

Recently, after a Swiss national was chosen to head another U.N. Agency here, the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, there has been increasing talk among third world delegations here that there should be no Swiss or even industrial country monopoly over this office in GATT, nor should the general membership of GATT asked to rubber-stamp decisions taken outside by the U.S. and EEC.

In informal consultations last week among key delegations from both industrial and third world countries, it was apparently agreed that while procedures should be worked out for the future, this would take time, and the future of Dunkel should not be left in uncertainty, particularly in view of the preparatory work now in process for a new round.

The U.S. and other industrial countries did not want any linkage between a decision to continue Dunkel in office, and working out procedures for the future.

However, several of the third world delegations apparently insisted that while no direct linkage need be established, there should be a commitment about working out procedures for the future, along with a decision on Dunkel, and that there should only be a new term of three years for Dunkel, and not a 3 + 3 term as proposed by Chiba.

As a result of further consultations, formal and informal thereafter, a consensus would appear to have emerged in favour of giving Dunkel a new contract for three years, and a commitment to work out procedures for election of the Director-General and report to the next session of the GATT CPS.

GATT sources said even for Dunkel's new term, there were still some procedural problems to be sorted out - whether it could be done by the GATT Council at its next meeting this week, or whether the Council should merely make a recommendation and a formal election done at a formal special session of the GATT CPS to be convened for this purpose.