Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Officials Agree on `Dumping' in Trade Pact

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Officials Agree on `Dumping' in Trade Pact

Article excerpt

Negotiators from 116 nations rewriting the rules of global trade achieved their first major breakthrough early today.

They agreed to key provisions in a U.S. proposal that would protect American workers and industries from competition with foreign manufacturers dumping below-cost goods on the U.S. market.

But the progress on dumping - one of the most politically sensitive issues in the negotiations - was one of the few major bright spots as officials struggled to conclude a pact by Wednesday. Some of the most intractable issues are still on the table.

"The pace has definitely escalated," one European trade official admitted. One spokesman went so far as to say that success in concluding a deal on anti-dumping rules had "broken the logjam" in other areas.

But other trade experts cautioned that breakthroughs led three years ago to false optimism just before the earlier sessions of the same round of trade talks collapsed.

Peter Sutherland, who is the director general of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, called on the United States and the other major trading nations to exert leadership and find room for compromise.

"We are at a moment of vital importance which will determine whether or not the world has the opportunity to grow in trade and economic prosperity," he said. "It is a time for recognition by the developed world that they have an obligation to lead. . . . President (Bill) Clinton and others have a primary responsibility to help in the process."

A short time later, Clinton spoke by telephone, in three separate 15-minute conversations, with French Premier Edouard Balladur, British Prime Minister John Major, and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, urging them to press their negotiators onward to an agreement, a White House official said.

The negotiations continued beyond an informal deadline of Sunday night, with only occasional breaks for private consultations. …

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