Jan 10, 1991


PUNTA DEL ESTE, URUGUAY JANUARY 9 (IPS/SERGIO JELLINEK) --The European Community (EC) and various Latin American countries will hold informal meetings here this month to end the deadlock in talks on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

When last month’s meeting in Brussels collapsed, Uruguayan Foreign Minister Hector Gross Espiell, head of the Uruguay Round of talks, decided to extend the negotiations to early 1991.

The first meeting of delegation heads will be held January 15 at the GATT headquarters in Geneva, to be attended by GATT Director-General Arthur Dunkel.Gross Espiell and Dunkel will later study the possibility of making a new call on the trade negotiations committee so the Uruguay Round could end with a "positive" balance, a diplomatic report said.

Gross has said the issue of agriculture would continue to be the biggest obstacle to the talks. "If the EC does not change its position, it will be difficult to reach an agreement that is satisfactory to all parties", he said.

There now seem to be some cracks in the previously monolithic EC position on agriculture, which has been rejected by the United States and the Cairns Group of farm exporters.