6:08 AM Jun 9, 1994


Geneva 8 Jun (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- The government of Brazil has nominated Rubens Ricupero, currently its finance minister and formerly its ambassador to GATT as a candidate for the post of the Director-General of the World Trade Organization.

The nomination was conveyed to the Chairman of the Contracting Parties, Andras Szepesi of Hungary who is holding informal consultations on the choice of a candidate.

The former Italian Trade Minister, Renato Ruggiero has been nominated by his country. Ruggiero is seeking the endorsement of the candidacy by the European Union, at the Corfu summit later this month.

The search for a candidate began last month, after GATT Director-General officially made it known to the Contracting Parties that he would not available for the WTO post.

Several other Latin American personalities have been mentioned in the media, but Ricupero's name has now been officially put forward.

Ricupero was Brazil's GATT Ambassador from 1987 to 1991 and headed the informal group of developing countries, and was the Chairman of the GATT Council and then of the Contracting Parties.

In all these capacities he established considerable rapport and confidence among developing countries as well as the major developed countries.

Ricupero went on from Geneva to be his country's Ambassador in Washington, and then to Brasilia where he became the Environment Minister before becoming the Finance Minister earlier this year.

The Brazilian candidate has thus the advantage of both the technicalities of the GATT and the trade organization as also the Ministerial and administrative experience on some of the new challenges.

The GATT Director-General's post was first held by a Britisher, and his two successors were Swiss, and Sutherland is Irish.

While the Europeans are trying to hold on to that post, the developing countries with a large, more than two-thirds membership now, have also been pushing for a candidate from the South to succeed Sutherland.