Nov 20, 1982
EEC INTERNAL DEBATE AND A FEW UNRESOLVED ISSUES POSE QUESTION MARKS OVER MINISTERIAL
Geneva Nov 19 (IPS/Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- The EEC's internal divisions on overall stand to next week's GATT ministerial, and a few unresolved key issues where the United States has staked its prestige, pose a few question marks over next week's GATT ministerial, as officials and delegates began arriving in Geneva.
The unresolved issues are: dispute settlement procedures, subsidies, fisheries services, investment, and high technology. On Wednesday key negotiations asked Council Chairman, B.L. Das to continue his efforts, and consultations are going on within his group, with a council meeting itself set for Saturday tentatively, in case of progress on any of them.
According to GATT diplomats, issues of fisheries and dispute settlement procedures could result in some compromise. But on the US sponsored items of services, investment, and high technology, none was in sight. However the US is involved in high pressure lobbying, here and in capitals, and considerable high-handed arm-twisting.
The EEC itself is having internal problems, with some serious French objections to EEC endorsing the draft declaration as it has now emerged from the Council. The objections would appear to relate to undertakings not to take new protectionist measures inconsistent with GATT or circumvent GATT obligations, undertakings to dismantle or bring into line with GATT existing protectionist measures, and the new programme and decisions on agriculture.
The EEC Council is due to meet at Brussels an Monday, by when the efforts at reconciling differences would be known. Some efforts to re-negotiate here the three points are also being hinted at, though some diplomats warn that the document as of now is a very delicately balanced one, and any effort at changing one part may so alter the balance, that the whole thing may fall apart, and GATT will face a fiasco.