Jul 2, 1987


GENEVA, JUNE 30 (IFDA) "Participants in the Uruguay Round GATT negotiations are very aware of need to relate their work inside to the "real world" outside, and make sure that problems exacerbate trade relations are taken into account in the process of negotiations", according to GATT Director-General Arthur Dunkel.

At a press conference, Dunkel said the various negotiating groups were making progress in their initial phase of work, and the expected in the second part of the year intense activity to formulate and consider proposals.

While trade policy was the responsibility of GATT contracting parties, everything in the area of trade was not taking place in Geneva and actions elsewhere necessarily influenced discussions in the GATT building, Dunkel added and referred in this connection to the debate in the U.S. Congress over the trade bill, the discussions in Brussels on agricultural policy, and Japanese plans to ease tensions with its trading partners.

Dunkel also referred to the wider economic issues and problems affecting trade, and referred in this connection to issues like exchange rte fluctuations, macro-economic coordination among major industrial countries, fall in investment activities, and the relationships between solutions to the debt problems and trade.

The GATT Director-General noted in this connection that UNCTAD-VII would be convening in Geneva shortly, and it had been founded precisely to offer governments a forum where they could have very close and direct inter-relationships between money, finance, development and trade.

"We are hoping very much that the UNCTAD Conference will help improve the present climate of cooperation", Dunkel declared.

Dunkel has reminded that while he was looking to UNCTAD-VII for some solutions, the OECD countries in their June north-south Committee meeting in Paris had made clear that on debt they would not "engage in any technical, decision-oriented discussions" at UNCTAD-VII, and on commodities and other issues they were pointing to GATT and Uruguay round for solutions.

"Are international institutions and their executives being made the victims now of a new forum game by governments who are not willing to act?" he was asked.

"Our problems with governments should not prevent U.S. from going on insisting, and this includes UNCTAD", Dunkel said.

And when the Secretary-General of UNCTAD talked of "modest goals" for the Conference, he was merely being realistic, since one could not change the economic scene in a three-week session.

Dunkel expected the Uruguay round Trade Negotiating Committee, the overall political body to supervise the GATT negotiations in goods and the separate negotiations in services, to meet at Ministerial level towards the end of 1988.

Many governments were working on this hypothesis and at the time the Ministers could take stock of the progress, and see where the situation had been blocked and what was needed to unblock the negotiating process.

Then would also be the time to see how things had worked out in each area, what agreements had been already reached, and whether some of them could not be implemented even before the round was concluded.