Trade post for Sir Hamish

OUTGOING Financial Secretary Sir Hamish Macleod has been nominated by the Hong Kong Government to a key position on the World Trade Organisation.

His name has been put forward as a candidate for the seven-member appellate body, which is to be installed as part of the trade organisation's tough dispute settlement body.

Sir Hamish will be competing in a field of up to 33 candidates said to include former Australian attorney-general Michael Duffy. Selection is taking place in the WTO secretariat in Geneva, with interviews being conducted by the so-called Committee of Six, which includes WTO director-general Renato Ruggiero and the chairmen of the five WTO councils.

Hong Kong's permanent representative to the WTO, Stuart Harbinson, is on the committee as chairman of the council on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights.

On Tuesday, acting Financial Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen held a private meeting with Mr Ruggiero and it is believed Sir Hamish's candidature was raised then.

At the end of the month, the Committee of Six will present its recommendations for the seven-member appellate body to the WTO general council which will make the final decision.