W. Germany joins push for speedy trade talks
West Germany intends to join the United States in calling for faster multilateral trade negotiations on Wednesday. Senior government officials, says Martin Bangemann, the West German minister of economics, will tell the seven economic ministers gathered in Paris at the annual Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) meeting that Bonn favors accelerated talks under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). GATT is a treaty which covers a large portion of the world's trade.
According to Friedhelm Ost, official spokesman to Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the German action is taking place ``because otherwise there are the dangers for protectionism and it is really difficult to abolish protectionism if it gets established.''
The West German move will help the US, which hopes to keep the GATT talks, begun in 1986, to a total of four years. Recently, US Trade Representative Clayton Yeutter suggested some nations were dragging their feet. The last trade round lasted seven years.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Yeutter in Washington says Mr. Bangemann's move ``will be music to our ears.''
Bangemann will be pressing for the faster talks on the same day that Chancellor Kohl's Cabinet takes up a bill to deregulate the telecommunications industry - a move favored by the US.
It is also an action being fought in Germany by the labor unions and opposition political party.
The GATT trade round intends to take up telecommunications. But many countries do not wish to open up their markets since their governments receive significant revenue from controlling the industry.
The OECD meeting is also likely to raise the group's forecast for economic growth in Europe.