Apr 10, 1989


GENEVA, APRIL 7, CHAKRAVARTHI RAGHAVAN. – The United States and the European Communities, in late night negotiations Thursday have reached a modus vivendi on short-term measures in agriculture, but at the expense of the Cairns Group it was reported Friday morning.

No immediate confirmation of this development late Thursday night was immediately available.

But according to sources, under the U.S.-EEC accord the standstill on government support in the short-term would no longer mention the U.S. agricultural "set-aside" programme or the budgetary outlays on exports.

The Cairns Group has been particular on short-term freeze, and particularly the U.S. and EEC export subsidy competition that hurts the Cairns Group exporters, but the U.S.-EEC accord might leave them little choice.

On the other issues, participants said, little progress had been made Thursday on textiles, safeguards, and trade-related intellectual property rights, third world countries reported Thursday night.

This assessment came after the informal meeting of the third world group in GATT Thursday evening, which went on till 2100 hours local time.

In textiles, participants said, the positions of the U.S. and EEC had hardened on the issue of "freeze" on further MFA restrictions. Both, and particularly the U.S., was reportedly insisting that it would not go beyond the vague formulations of the Punta del Este mandate on standstill.

MFA-exporting countries have contended that the standstill has been violated at least in spirit in the bilateral accords, and the credibility of negotiations required specific commitments against further restrictions.

In safeguards, there has been no movement in view of the EEC position about "selective safeguards".

On TRIPS, in the consultations on Dunkel’s new text, calling for negotiations on a number of items he has listed, India, Brazil and Egypt would appear to have said the issues of "adequate standards and/or principles concerning the availability, scope and use of intellectual property rights as they relate to trade" should be deleted completely.

While this was their "preferred position", they were willing to accept the Dunkel formulation to negotiate, provided it was specifically made clear that the negotiations "shall be without implying any pre-judgement on relationship with GATT".

The EEC suggested that among the factors to be taken into account in this matter the issue of "public interest" should be specifically included.

In the Dunkel text, the negotiations on adequate standards has been qualified by saying that "consideration" should be given to concerns of participants relating to "the policy objectives of their national legislation on intellectual property rights, including developmental and technological objectives".

The EEC amendment would bring "public interest" as an additional element here.

Pakistan and Tanzania said that the standards and norms issue should be completely deleted, without any alternative as suggested by Brazil and India.

(The Tanzanian delegate reportedly explained at the third world group meeting that the Punta del Este mandate in the area was a decision of the GATT Contracting Parties at the level of ministers, and the TNC meeting or any other could not rewrite the mandate.

The U.S. was opposed to all the changes, and insisted that the standards, enforcement under national laws and dispute settlement should be in GATT. It was also opposed to the inclusion of "public interest".

Consultations on TRIPS, in an even more restricted group, were to resume Friday morning.

With the U.S. and EEC outwardly burying their quarrels in agriculture, both will perhaps combine jointly on TRIPS.