Nov 14, 1988


BRUSSELS, NOVEMBER 10 (IPS/DEBRA PERCIVAL) Ė The European Economic Community is going to the December mid-term review in Montreal of the "Uruguay round" of trade liberalisation talks with a call for the most open multilateral trading system possible.

The EEC is also in favour of strengthening the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), including improvements in its procedures and rules over conciliation and arbitration.

The Community wants to see tougher GATT panels to deal with trade disputes, and is advocating more frequent examination of trade policies and more regular Ministerial meetings.

The EECís views are outlined in a European Commission position paper released here this week, which "takes stock of the present situation of the liberalisation of world trade in the 'Uruguay round' looking forward to the coming two years."

"The Montreal mid-term review is not indented to rewrite or amend the Punta del Este declaration", according to European Commissioner for External Relations, Willy De Clerq. The declaration launched the current round in September 1986.

De Clerq also warns that the meeting in Montreal of all GATT members "should not be an opportunity for one or another partner to win an advantage or a concession outside the balance of mutual advantages which is the golden rule of GATT."

On strengthening GATT, De Clerq argues that "a vital interest of developing countries is to see compulsory links between GATT and the international monetary fund and the World Bank."

New topics the European Community wants to see pushed through in the "Uruguay round" include liberalisation of services, intellectual property and investments.

"Developing countries make a big mistake in considering these sectors just for industrialised countries," according to De Clerq.

Meanwhile, the European Community is bracing itself for tough talks in Montreal with U.S. delegates on liberalisation of trade in tropical products - the sector GATT members put on the "fast track" in the Punta del Este declaration.

"The United States is linking progress in the area to agricultural negotiations", De Clerq points out.