Nov 11, 1986

GATT WORKING PARTY TO STUDY BULGARIAN ACCESSION.

GENEVA, NOVEMBER 8 (IFDA) The Bulgarian application for accession to the general agreement is to be studied by a GATT working party, the GATT council is reported to have decided this week.

The setting up of a working party to examine the trade regime on the applicant is the normal GATT procedure in such cases.

The decision to go forward with this normal procedure was agreed to on Thursday, following informal consultations.

When Bulgaria had made the application, and this had come up before the council at its earlier meeting, the U.S. had raised objections, including the compatibility of a socialist regime with GATT's free trading principles.

The U.S. had argued that a working party should be set up only after Bulgaria had submitted a detailed memorandum on its trade regime, and the council members had been able to study it.

In informal consultations several of the members reportedly disagreed with this departure from normal GATT procedures in this case.

Even the EEC, which has objected to Bulgaria' s claim for less developed country's status, and thus easier terms for access, is reported to have disagreed with the U.S. position.

While the working party was established by the council on Thursday, it is expected to start functioning only after Bulgaria submits a memorandum of its trade policy and regime.

Bulgaria itself has indicated that this would be only in the new year, by when its new law and regulations are to be promulgated.