Nov 28, 1986


GENEVA, NOVEMBER 26 (IFDA/CHAKRAVARTHI RAGHAVAN)-- New procedures to secure transparency in the appointment of future Directors-General of GATT, and in effect fixing a maximum term of eight years were announced Wednesday at the meeting of the Contracting Parties.

The agreed procedures were announced in the form what the chairman of the Contracting Parties, Amb. Kazuo Chiba of Japan had called "consensus statement.

The issue had arisen in March this year in connection with efforts to appoint the present incumbent, Arthur Dunkel, for a new term. Dunkel was appointed as GATT Director-General, in 1980 for a 3-year term with a provision for automatic renewal for another three years. His terms were to have expired in September 1986.

In march this year, the EEC, Japan and the U.S., among themselves agreed on a new term for Dunkel, and the decision of the three was sought to be pushed through after a perfunctory consultations process among a few, held by the chairman of the GATT Contracting Parties.

Brazil, supported by several others, had then called for prior agreement on proper procedures, qualifications, and terms and conditions of office including the fixing of a maximum term for any incumbent. Brazil and others had also sought to introduce the principle of geographic rotation of the post in selecting candidates.

Till now there are no set procedures and third world delegates complained that apparently precedents could be found in GATT practice for any procedure that suited the three trading blocs.

Ultimately as a compromise, Dunkel was elected for another three years from September 1986, and it was agreed that consultations would take place for establishing agreed procedures for future appointment.

There was resistance from the U.S., EEC and Japan to the effort to set procedures or set a maximum span for any person to hold the post. But ultimately they appeared to have agreed to this, while Brazil and others gave way in their demand for geographic rotation

of the post.

Announcing the new procedures, Chiba said that in future the Director-General should be appointed by the Contracting Parties at a regular session "for a term of office of four years", and that the CPS "may reappoint" the Director-General for a further term "not exceeding four years".

The decision to appoint for a first term should be after a process of consultations by the chairman of the CPS, started by an announcement at a meeting of the GATT council at least six months before the session of the CPS. There would be similar procedures for the, reappointment to a second term.

Chiba said that his making the announcement in the form of a statement meant that there would be "a reasonable amount of flexibility" in the future application of these procedures.

The question of agreed procedures for the appointment of the deputy Directors-General of GATT is to be pursued by the GATT Council.