Pix sticking point in GATT

The United States and the European Community moved closer Thursday to a world trade accord by resolving some differences over agriculture and tariff cuts, but remained at odds over trade in films and television programs and other key issues.

U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor and Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy planned to return to Brussels on Monday to try to clinch a deal paving the way for an agreement by Dec. 15.

“We’re not there yet,” Kantor cautioned after two days of intensive negotiations with the 12-nation EC. “We certainly have hopes at this point. (But) it is not a done deal.”

The U.S. insists the movie industry be part of a GATT deal. France refuses, saying films are part of a country’s cultural heritage and shouldn’t be subject to free trade.

Europeans fear their countries will be swamped by Hollywood pix if they can’t subsidize their film industries and maintain restrictive TV quotas on American films.

Negotiators appeared close to settling the agricultural issue after the United States and France — the EC’s largest farm producer — softened their positions.

“There has been enormous progress — even on agriculture,” said French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe. He said the Americans had given “a positive response” to French demands for an easing of subsidy cuts, but “it was not enough to solve the dispute.”

Kantor said the two sides also have sketched the outline of a large package of tariff cuts on manufactured goods, but he refused to give details.

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