Jan 31, 1991

EC WANTS END TO GATT STALEMATE

BRUSSELS, JANUARY 29 (IPS) Ė The European Community (EC) still hopes that the suspended negotiations on the Uruguay Round of world trade talks can be completed by March 1, an EC spokesperson said here Tuesday.

The ECís desire for a "speedy solution" to the Uruguay Round was emphasised by European Commissioner for External Relations, Frans Andriessen, during meetings last week with some of the ECís trading partners.

Andriessen met six Latin American Ministers from Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Mexico in Punta del Este before moving on for talks in Washington and Ottawa, Canada. According to the EC spokesperson Latin American states agreed with the EC on a "fast-track" to bring the Uruguay Round to a close.

The United States has recently hinted at an extension of the Uruguay Round mandate for two years, but the EC believes that the Uruguay Round could be wrapped up over the next few week if all sides show flexibility.

According to the spokesperson, the wide difference in opinion between the Community and a majority of GATT member nations pressing for a change in EC policy on agricultural subsidies still existed.Meeting with Carla Hills, U.S. Secretary for Trade, Andriessen said that the EC would be willing to show "greater flexibility" over the farm subsidy issue if the United States and other trading partners did the same in two other sensitive sectors -- services and intellectual property.