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France Calls for Renegotiating EC - U.S. Farm Trade Deal

July 19, 1993

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ France demanded Monday that the European Community reopen negotiations with the United States on a farm trade deal reached last November to curb agriculture subsidies.

If the other nations agree, the move could further complicate world trade talks being held under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade or GATT.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe suggested during a meeting of his European counterparts Monday that discussion of the farm deal should occur before Sept. 15.

He said consequences of the farm deal ″will be much more painful″ to the trade bloc than agricultural reforms it undertook last year.

″We won’t continue to elude the difficult parts just to get a GATT deal by the end of 1993,″ he added.

The EC-U.S. farm deal would impose limits on government payments to farmers, was designed to give a lift to the stalled GATT world trade talks, known as the Uruguay Round after the nation where they began in 1986.

The 114-nation Uruguay Round is designed to lower barriers to trade in a host of sectors, including agriculture, textiles, manufactured goods and financial services. Officials have expressed the hope of wrapping up the talks by Dec. 15.

The bargaining, launched in Uruguay in 1986, has been snarled for more than two years by bitter disputes between the United States and Europe over farm subsidies.

France, the community’s biggest farm producer, has opposed the EC-U.S. accord. It contends the subsidy cuts would force some French farmers into bankruptcy.

Most other EC foreign ministers said at Monday’s meeting they would work toward a global trade accord by the end of the year and stressed its importance in bringing Europe out of an economic slump.

″We must now at last achieve a breakthrough in the Uruguay Round,″ said Dutch Foreign Minister Pieter Kooijmans. ″Success would be a huge impetus to economic developments within the community and in the world.″

French Agriculture Minister Jean Puech reiterated France’s policy that ″there’s no agreement on anything if there isn’t agreement on everything.″ And at the moment, he added, ″Things aren’t going the way we want.″

As to the reactions of France’s EC partners to its request for more trade discussions, Juppe said, ″They didn’t say no.″

However, Germany’s deputy minister Juergen Trumpf stressed the EC should proceed cautiously if it tried to reopen the EC-U.S. farm accord.

A Belgian official said ministers had not agreed to hold a September meeting, but that there was no strong objection to the proposal.

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