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GATT winds up with weak pledge on protectionism

The conference of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) talks ended Sunday with foreign trade ministers able to agree on little more than a diluted pledge to resist protectionist pressures.

The meeting was to have closed Saturday but was extended because of deep differences mainly involving the US and the European Common Market. The ministers failed to get a sweeping commitment to fight protectionism and work on lowering existing trade barriers, especially in agriculture. Third-world countries also criticized the US for what many considered ill-timed demands for commitments on trade liberalization.

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