Jul 1, 1989


GENEVA, JUNE 30 (BY CHAKRAVARTHI RAGHAVAN) The recent announcements of the united states administration, initiating actions against trading partners, under so-called "super 301" and "special 301" provisions of the 1988 U.S. omnibus trade and competitiveness act, are expected to figure again at the GATT next week at two of the important Uruguay round bodies.

The surveillance body set up to oversee the implementation of the standstill and rollback commitments undertaken at Punta del Este is meeting on July 3, and its main agenda is the recommendation it is to make to the July meeting of the trade negotiations committee on procedures to be followed for a rollback.

Also meeting next week, July 3-4, is the Uruguay round negotiating group on "trade-related intellectual property rights", to discuss the subject of enforcement of intellectual property rights.

The meetings were scheduled in accord with the work programme adopted by them after the April meeting of the trade negotiations committee in Geneva.

Since then, the U.S. has initiated actions against Japan, Brazil and India under "super 30l", dubbing them as "unfair traders" and seeking bilateral negotiations for changes in their domestic economic policies as well as international trade policies (in specified areas), with the prospect of trade retaliations if no agreement is reached.

Some of the U.S. demands are for the countries to negotiate away their GATT rights, and others cover areas not covered by international agreements and on some of which the Uruguay round negotiations are to determine whether any are to be made.

The U.S. has also put Brazil, India and several third world countries on a "priority watch list" under "special 301", seeking consultations and negotiations for changes in their domestic intellectual property regimes, with November 1 as the deadline to review their status and decide about any further actions.

This decision, the U.S. has said, would be made on the basis of the "constructive participation" of these countries in the "multilateral intellectual property negotiations."

Both these issues figured last week at the meetings of the GATT council, where the U.S. actions came in for rebuke and condemnation from others, but with the U.S. insisting that no GATT rights had been violated.

But with the U.S. now holding out the threat of possible unilateral actions, if the target countries do not adopt a posture in the TRIPS negotiations that the U.S. would consider "constructive", the countries concerned are expected to raise it in the surveillance body and the TRIPS group.

The surveillance body can take no decisions or actions, merely making available to the group of negotiations on goods (GNG) and the TNC report of its discussions and the views of participants.

There were no clear indications Friday as to what effect these 301 developments will have on the work programme that the TRIPS group has set for itself, since the countries concerned are now being asked to negotiate under threat.