Mar 23, 1989


GENEVA, MARCH 22 (IFDA/CHAKRAVARTHI RAGHAVAN)— The last round of consultations on the deadlocked Uruguay round issues ended Tuesday with apparently the U.S. and EEC far apart on short-term elements of any agreement on agriculture.

The consultations by GATT Director-General Arthur Dunkel were in pursuance of the mandate to him by the Montreal ministerial mid-term review meeting on the four deadlocked areas - agriculture, textiles, safeguards and trade-related intellectual property rights.

Dunkel is due Wednesday to report on these consultations to a meeting of the Uruguay round trade negotiations committee at level of heads of delegations. He is expected to put forward his own ideas in each of the four areas.

On long-term measures, where there had been a deadlock between the U.S. call for "elimination" of all government support and the EEC’s willingness to agree only to "substantial reduction", the U.S. had suggested the concept of "ratcheted reduction". This has been rejected by the EEC.

At Tuesday’s consultations, the U.S. reportedly suggested a new formulation "substantive progressive reduction", while the EEC called for "substantive and progressive reduction".

On short-term measures however the two sides were reportedly far apart, with the EEC demanding that as part of the short-term measures the U.S. must reduce its wheat acreage expansion programmes.

According to participants, the cairns group of countries did not seem to be fully happy with the way the two warring gains are having bilateral discussions.

In other comments, the net food importing third world countries not only sought exemption from short-term measures, a point on which everyone seems now to be agreed to, but for additional measures to deal with their problems in the light of the expected increase in market prices of their imports of foodgrains.

Dunkel has scheduled high-level green room consultations over the weekend of March 31. The TNC is to meet at high-level from April 5.