Sep 9, 1986


GENEVA SEP. 6 (IFDA) -- The Soviet and Chinese communications and moves to participate in GATT and the new round are different, though as centrally planned economies they both raise similar problems for the general agreement, GATT Director-General, Arthur Dunkel told newsmen Friday.

In a communication to the GATT Director-General, now circulated to the GATT contracting parties (CPS), the Soviet Union has conveyed its wish to participate in the forthcoming round of multilateral trade negotiations (MTNS).

In the communication, the Soviet Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, has said the AIMS of such participate included gaining, through participation in activities of GATT, the experience required to arrive at a decision on accession of the USSR to the agreement.

In this connection, the soviet communication has also referred to the changes taking place in the Soviet Union, relating to the reorganisation of the soviet national economy.

Replying to questions at a Press Conference Friday, Dunkel noted that the general agreement was based on the market economy concept.

But there were examples in GATT of efforts by the CPS "to show openness and imagination" in terms of establishing practical relations in a contract, based on market economy philosophy, and countries which apply centrally planned economies.

But it had also to be recognised that these efforts had not been "totally successful".

But they were living in a world of pragmatism and flexibility, and there was a need to improvise.

But the centrally planned economy countries now in GATT were not major trading nations.

"Now the GATT CPS are faced with a challenge of trying to cope with a situation, which has a much larger and bigger dimension, and it is not just in the case of the USSR but also in a certain way in the case of China".

As Director-General he was looking at the issue from the point of view of a contract which had to work, and in terms of the interest shown by some countries to join the contract.

Both China and the Soviet Union had also made publicly clear that they were examining their own economic systems.

But in terms of procedures, there was a wide difference in the dialogue going on in GATT between the CPS and China on the one hand, and in the Soviet case.

The case of China was completely different. China was now an observer in the GATT Council, and has sent a letter saying that they wish to rejoin GATT.

The GATT contracting parties had accepted this in principle, though extensive negotiations on this have to ensure.

In the case of the Soviet Union, the only step they had taken was to make known their wish to participate in the forthcoming round of MTNS.

Asked as to what he himself thought should be done, Dunkel replied that the USSR was not negotiating with him, but had to do so with the GATT CPS.

"I can only be an hones broker. If CPAS are prepared to accept membership in the contract (of the Soviet Union), and the Secretariat could be helpful, we are going to do so. But at the moment there is nothing to be done by me, beyond circulating the soviet letter, and this has been done".