8 June 2005

Arthur Dunkel long time Director-General dies at 72

Arthur Dunkel, former Director-General of the GATT, died today aged 72, in Geneva, after a long illness.

As Director-General of the GATT during 1980-1993, Mr Dunkel was at the helm of the launch of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations in September 1986 and steered the multilateral trading system to the doorstep of what is now known as the World Trade Organization.

The “Dunkel Draft” in December 1991 was an historic turning point in the negotiations. Mr Dunkel’s deep understanding of the technical issues combined with his shrewd diplomacy transformed hundreds of thousands of pages of diverse, often conflicting, proposals into a manageable single document of some 500 pages, distilling the essence of the future WTO.

Throughout his leadership of the GATT, Mr Dunkel’s good humour, humanity and dignified presence earned him the respect and loyalty of his small but dedicated Secretariat.

“Arthur Dunkel will always serve as a role model of a selfless public servant with a universal vision,” said WTO Director-General Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi. “His legacy lives on in the work of the WTO.”