7:00 AM May 11, 1993
A US-EC CONDOMINIUM OVER GATT?Geneva May 10 (TWN) -- The Chairman of the Contracting Parties, Indian Ambassador Balkrishna Zutshi, who is conducting consultations on the choice of a successor to the GATT Director-General Arthur Dunkel, held a series of discussions with small groups to convey to them the "terms and conditions" being sought by the EC nominee, Irishman Peter Sutherland, to take Dunkel's job in June. Zutshi sought the views of governments on the three candidates whose names have been officially presented so far: Sutherland, backed by the EC and US, and a panel of two names put forward by the Group of Latin American and Caribbean countries, Amb. Julio Lacarte of Uruguay (now special advisor to the Uruguayan President on Uruguay Round) and former Colombian Trade Minister and currently Chairman of the Group of 77 in New York, Ambassador Luis Fernando Jaramillo. Zutshi is also due to meet Tuesday with the informal group of developing countries. The Grula group is also due to meet Tuesday morning when it will be clear how serious the group and its members are in presenting an alternative to what is seen as a transatlantic alliance to share power and run the GATT in their interests. According to sources in delegations involved in the consultations, Zutshi has advised delegations about his discussions with Sutherland last week, wherein Sutherland reportedly clarified his position. There were reports earlier that Sutherland had put forward some conditions for his accepting the job and that he was 'negotiating' with the Chairman of the Contracting Parties on these. While some sources said (after the meeting with Zutshi) that Sutherland was now "flexible", others said it would be more correct to say that Sutherland had been discussing his "expectations" with Zutshi. According to these sources, Sutherland had told Zutshi that in giving up a million dollar a year job as head of a private Bank (the Allied Irish Bank) and his directorships in a number of major TNCs, he would expect to be put on a par with the heads of the IMF and the World Bank. The EC Commission had sponsored the idea of nominating Sutherland to succeed Dunkel and this was agreed to in talks between EC Commissioner Leon Brittan and the US Trade Representative Micky Kantor. While the two major trading partners have considerable trade rivalries and tensions, there is also a greater level of inter-locking and interdependence among their Transnational enterprises (furthering whose interests is what the GATT system of the future and the Uruguay Round is all about) and have a commonality of interests against Japan as well as emerging trade competition from the developing world. Several GATT delegates from the Third World privately said that the full nature of this would unfold perhaps only gradually, sharing agreement by which the EC nominee would take the top post and Warren Lavorel who has been the US top official negotiator on GATT and Uruguay Round and the US nominee for the number two post of Deputy Director-General (to be appointed by the GATT Council on the recommendation of the DG) will be running the organization. Some long-time observers of the GATT said that if Sutherland took the job, this would be the first time that the major players of the GATT trading system, which had a different framework than those of the IMF and the World Bank, and in which the developing countries in a sense had now a greater stake. It will also be the first time perhaps that someone not experienced in diplomacy and multilateral trade diplomacy would be taking the job, and thus his US deputy, more knowledgeable about the GATT and the men involved would effectively run it. Sutherland, a politician and lawyer, was Ireland's Attorney-General before moving to Brussels as European Community's Competition Commissioner -- a job requiring legal and business expertise -- but not the kind of diplomatic skills needed in a multilateral system. Olivier Long was an academic and economist, while Arthur Dunkel before taking this post had been the Swiss official at Berne dealing with multilateral trade issues in UNCTAD and GATT.