Jun 24, 1986


GENEVA, JUNE 23 (IFDA/CHAKRAVARTHI RAGHAVAN) -- A number of third world countries are expected Monday to present to the GATT Preparatory Committee for a new round, a draft declaration for the september GATT Ministerial meeting at Punta del Este, Uruguay.

The draft would ask Ministers to affirm that the process of trade liberalisation should be pursued through a round of MTNS "in the area of trade in goods", and agree that MTNS could be started, in some listed areas of trade in goods, when standstill and rollback commitments by Contracting Parties become effective.

It would thus in effect exclude services, intellectual property, and investment issues sought to be brought into GATT and on the agenda of a new round by the U.S. and its supporters.

The areas of trade in goods, where it envisages MTNS to start after standstill and rollback commitments are safeguards, agriculture, tropical products, quantitative restrictions and other non-tariff barriers, commodities, natural resource products, and restrictive products.

It envisages other items to be added on, where preparations can be completed before the Preparatory Committee completes its work.

Other areas of trade in goods, where further preparation and elaboration of programme of negotiations are required before negotiations on them could be launched, would be separately listed.

The Preparatory Committee is due to resume its meeting monday afternoon, and will meet formally and informally till Thursday, to draft recommendations for the Ministerial meeting.

The Committee has before it already a draft on behalf of nine industrial countries (but known to have the support of the U.S., EEC and Japan), presented in the form of a "non-paper", implying no commitment on behalf of any of the signatories but as a basis for discussion.

This draft envisages launching of the new round, and including within it the new themes (services, investment, and intellectual property rights), at Punta del Este meet.

At a meeting of the informal third world group, soon after the nine-nation draft was presented to the Preparatory Committee, it was felt that the third world view should be presented in the form of an alternative paper, and Brazil was asked to work out a draft for the consideration of the group.

The draft prepared by Brazil was reportedly considered at the meeting of the informal third world group of GATT on Friday.

According to some third world sources the structure and principles of the draft, as well as its move to include various elements for negotiations in separate annexed found a large measure of support.

However, some of the delegations expressed some reservations or problems with one or other point, particularly over the idea of including within the call for a rollback within three years, the rollback of all restrictions on imports into industrial countries of textiles and clothing, now governed by the Multifibre Arrangements (MFA).

According to third world sources, the Asian Countries and South Korea, however, did not express any views on the draft noting that they had just got the paper, while some others spoke in support, offering their preliminary views, but subject to instructions from their capitals.

Most of the delegations who spoke also agreed on the need to table a draft representing the third world views by monday, when the Preparatory Committee meets, according to third world sources.

Some ten delegations were reported to have conveyed their readiness to sign and sponsor the draft proposed by Brazil, while a few others wanted time to consult their capitals.

The draft itself was expected to be revised monday, int eh light of the comments made, and signed and presented monday afternoon, perhaps in a form that would enable others to join later.