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US Moving Fast On Trade, Aid


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THE Bush administration's Czechoslovakia policy, newly announced this week during the Czech delegation's visit to Washington, may be the most bullish of its positions on Eastern Europe. From his Tuesday and Wednesday meetings at the White House to his Wednesday address on Capitol Hill, Czech President Vaclav Havel's reception was dramatic: Mr. Havel's country was promised a negotiated commercial agreement leading to most-favored-nation trading status, and the participation of United States Import-Export Bank financing and the Overseas Private Investment Corp.

Czechoslovakia's Minister of Foreign Trade Andrej Barcak expects a bilateral trade agreement to be signed before the June 8 parliamentary elections. US Secretary of Commerce Robert Mosbacher arrives in Prague on Monday for two days of trade talks.

President Bush this week endorsed technical assistance for Prague and announced his support for Czech re-admission to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Minister of Finance Vaclav Klaus says that he will host an IMF mission in Prague on March 5, when government and Fund economists will prepare national income accounting for Czechoslovakia's imminent application to the IMF and the World Bank.

``First, our membership in the World Bank will demonstrate that our economy is open to the international community,'' he says. ``Secondly, we will seek technical assistance, for tax reform, enterprise management, privatization, etc.'' The minister did not negate the possibility of seeking a stand-by agreement with the Fund after membership is secured.

In his speech to Congress, Havel said that the US could help Eastern Europe ``most of all if you help the Soviet Union on its irreversible, but immensely complicated road to democracy.''

The sooner the Soviet Union moved toward political pluralism and a ``working - that is a market - economy,'' he said, the better it would be for the world and the sooner the US would be able to reduce its defense budget.


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