May 16, 1987

THREE COUNTRIES SEEK TO ACCEDE PROVISIONALLY TO GATT

GENEVA, MAY 14 (IFDA) The GATT Council agreed Thursday to a request from Honduras and El Salvador to be permitted to join GATT provisionally.

This would enable these two countries to join the current Uruguay Round of Trade Negotiations, and ultimately become full GATT CPS.

Under the Punta del Este declaration, third world countries, which initiated procedures for accession to GATT before April 30, with the intention of negotiating the terms of their accession during the course of the negotiations, would be able to participate in the Uruguay round.

Algeria, which already applies GATT provisions de facto, has also notified the GATT about its request for provisional application and intention of accession, and this is expected to come before the Council at its next meeting in June. Thereafter Algeria too would be able to participate in the Uruguay round negotiations.

The procedures adopted by the three require third world countries to merely write a letter to the GATT director-general, and it would enable them to become GATT CPS without the elaborate procedures and negotiations normally required of a new entrant.

By pointed out that groundnut oil exported to the EEC by Senegal, Mali, Niger, Chad, Nigeria and the Gambia was already one of the more expensive oils, and a tax would put it out of the reach of many consumers.

ACP states are insisting that the EEC hold consultations with the ACP on the effects of the tax.

The association of South East Asian nations comprising Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei has also lodged strong protests against the tax with Malaysia threatening to take retaliatory action against EEC exports to the country if the tax comes into force.

Edwin Carrington of Trinidad and Tobago, secretary general of the ACP secretariat in Brussels, was optimistic that the EEC Commission would be forced to back down from the tax.

"The EEC Commission is reasonably isolated in its plan to tax oils and fats" he said, pointing out that several EEC countries such as Britain, Germany and Holland were also against taxing oils which could lead to higher margarine prices.