11:45 AM Apr 29, 1993
SUTHERLAND BACK IN RACE FOR GATT DG, LATINS PLANGeneva Apr 29 (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- The Europeans Community Commission appears to have put back the name of Irishman Peter Sutherland, a former EC Commissioner, back into the candidacy for succession to the GATT Director-General Arthur Dunkel, while the group of Latin American and Caribbean (GRULA) are preparing to submit a panel of alternative candidates. Sutherland's name was taken out only last week by the EC Commission which said that Sutherland would no longer be available for 'personal reasons'. But on Wednesday the EC would appear to have come back with his name and advised the Chairman of the Contracting Parties, Amb. Balkrishna Zutshi. Technically, the EC's original proposal, the withdrawal and the renomination have all been informal. Sutherland's name was reportedly agreed upon by the US Trade Representative Micky Kantor and the EC GATT Commissioner, Leon Brittan. While nothing was formally conveyed either before about the reported conditions set by Sutherland to take the job, GATT delegations had said that Sutherland's conditions involved the conclusion of the Uruguay Round and the establishment of a Multilateral Trade Organization (MTO) and wanting to take the job of GATT Director-General only for a six-month period. This last, whether it was tied to the MTO issue or not, others found it difficult to understand. As one of them said, the contract for the GATT DG enabled termination with six months notice on either side. Several other Third World delegations had objected to such 'conditionalities' or a candidate coming and taking over as GATT D.G. and quitting six months later, if the MTO is not accepted. It would be bad faith to come in as a international civil servant on a two-year contract and take over, with the intention at the back of the mind to quit after six months in certain contingencies, one of them said. These questions were discussed last week at a Grula meeting when several Latin American ambassadors made the point that the GATT would need an executive head to run the secretariat whether the negotiations are completed by the end of the year or not. If the negotiations fail, a GATT DG would still be needed to pick up the pieces, one of the delegates later commented. And even if it is completed, the establishment of the MTO by signature and entry into force of the Uruguay Round agreements would take a minimum of six months to a year after negotiations are concluded. "The Sutherland candidacy has now been 'resurrected', but we don't know about the conditions, implicit or explicit, " one Latin American delegate said. The Grula group held a meeting Thursday morning and the coordinator, Colombia's Amb. Eduardo Mestere is to complete 'consultations' and put forward a panel of names, Grula sources said. The Grula sources said that the names would be put forward as a "contribution" to obtaining a consensus behind the successor to Dunkel and would satisfy the main three criteria that has been set in the consultations so far: a personality of public stature and having knowledge of GATT and with 'no conditionalities' for taking the job. Among the names being mentioned are Jaramillo from Colombia (a former Minister, and now Permanent Representative in New York), Julio Lacarte from Uruguay. The name of a former Brazilian minister is also expected to figure, but so far there has been no official candidate has been sponsored. One Latin American source emphasized that it is not a case of three Latin Americans competing for the job, but a panel of agreed names being put forward by the Group around which a consensus could be canvassed and got.