Jan 7, 1988


GENEVA, DECEMBER (IFDA) The need of greater international cooperation in monetary and financial field, and for the debt problem to be tackled more seriously, was underscored by the GATT Director-General, Arthur Dunkel, in an year-end press conference.

Painting in rosy colours to extent of cooperation among governments in GATT in the trade area, Dunkel added: "cooperation is working in GATT. I would like to find the counterpart of this in the finance and monetary sectors as well. There is a need for greater international cooperation in the monetary and finance sectors".

Dunkel also lent support to the U.S. view that trade ministers should meet oftener than now.

Dunkel was asked to comment on the paradox of his claimed success in GATT and wanting Ministerial meetings to increase it, while at the same time pleading for more cooperation in monetary and financial fields where Ministers met every six months without any success. The latest OECD projections, he was reminded, were for no more than two- percent growth in 1988, which would worsen the debt crisis and have inevitable negative effects on world trade and the negotiations.

Dunkel agreed that Finance Ministers met more often than Trade Ministers.

"But I would not consider meetings are the best instruments of measurement of progress. What I am saying is trade policy is dealt with in GATT, not the G-5, G-7 or G10.

"We have the meeting of GATT Contracting Parties where all CPS are present, and the trade negotiations committee where all participants are present at the level they choose to be represented. There are parallel meetings of smaller groups (in GATT), but with no decision-making power".

"I agree that the debt problem needs to be tackled more seriously than now. I see some signs ... we in the trade policy field are aware of the linkages that exist between solution to be debt problem and the debt policy. Now both sides are losers the indebted countries and creditor countries".

On the issue of mid-term review of the Uruguay round, and the proposes Ministerial meeting, Dunkel noted that Canada as the venue had received unanimous support, ant there was clear support for such a review. But it was premature now about exact dates and what could be achieved.

Discussions about holding such a meeting would be continued next February and it possible a formal decision would be taken.

"But participants are aware it will be counter-productive if all energies are concentrated on mid-term review rather than negotiations proper".

As for priorities, the issue had been settled at Punta del Este. The only area where priority was specifically recognised was in respect of trade in tropical products. Another area where priority could be deduced was in respect of the safeguard agreement.

For the rest the Ministers wished to move towards agreement as speedily as possible, and the Punta del Este declaration recognised the possibility of early agreements and their advance implementation, provisionally or definitively.