5:43 AM Sep 20, 1994


Geneva 20 Sep (TWN) -- Informal consultations on the selection of a successor to Peter Sutherland as GATT Director-General are to resume at the GATT this week.

The Chairman of the GATT Contracting Parties, Andras Szepesi has convened a heads of delegation level meeting for Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, the candidacy of Renato Ruggiero, the former Italian Trade Minister which had been put forward by Italy, has received the endorsement of the European Union, according to GATT sources.

At the recent meeting of the Quad countries in San Francisco, the European Commission is reported to have advised the other Quad members of this development. The EU has also advised key delegations.

At the Szepesi meeting Thursday, the EU is expected to formally announce this decision which it expects will strengthen the chances of its candidate.

Of the other three candidates officially named so far, the candidacy of Brazil's Rubens Ricupero is no longer active, and Brazil at a suitable opportunity is expected to withdraw it.

This would leave three candidates in the field: South Korea's Kim Chil Su, Mexican President Salinas and Ruggeiro.

Any Brazilian announcement, formal or informal, about Ricupero would result in the Latin American group of countries to fall behind the candidacy of the Mexican President, Carlos Salinas. But this does not necessarily improve the latter's chance.

Many developing countries privately do not view favourably Salinas given his high-profile political personality, and from a country which is part of NAFTA, so closely linked with the United States and for all practical purposes has withdrawn from the Group of 77.

It is not clear also whether the United States is fully behind Salinas and would be actively pushing for his choice or would merely be supporting him in the consultations.