6:18 AM Oct 26, 1994
COMPETITION IS GOOD -- FOR OTHERSGeneva 26 Oct (TWN) -- The soon to be new World Trade Organization may all be about promoting competition, but it is not a rule it follows. The designing of a logo for the WTO has apparently been put out as a competition among a limited number of 'designers' in Europe and North America, and not a general one, according to information provided by some GATT sources. The GATT secretariat and its information office apparently picked on eight designers in Europe and North America and asked them to put forward designs for the logo of the new organization. Out of the eight, only six agreed to participate, and of these three or four have been shortlisted, and their proposed designs are being scrutinised by a small group of delegates who will do the selection. When the subject came up before the Budget sub-committee of the WTO's Preparatory Committee, its sanction was sought for the expenditure of about $100,000 and it was advised about the six competitors. At that time Singapore, joined by India, and supported by several others, would appear to have questioned limiting the 'competition' to half a dozen enterprises/designers in Europe and North America. The secretariat's explanation was that they did not have time and had to get the designs quickly ready in time for the 1 January deadline -- a view of the hurry that was questioned by even some industrial countries. Both Singapore and India, who have some excellent design institutes, said the amount might be 'small', but the issue was one of principle, and the prestige attached to the winner. India reportedly said that their design institution, which was in the public sector, would even have contributed and provided a design 'free'. Some of the participants said that they later discovered that the idea of having a logo was 'mentioned' by the GATT Director-General sometime in May, but not in terms of what was subsequently brought before the sub-committee. There were some contradictory explanations as to when the project was initiated, the European and North American designers were initially sounded and the names of those willing to compete was set. However, the delegates did not seem to have pressed the point.