GATT slowed at 11th hour

Last-minute snags over several issues — including film — dampened hopes Sunday that U.S. and European Community negotiators could end years of wrangling over farm subsidies and open the way for the world’s biggest trade deal.

Officials gave no details, but indicated there were problems on several issues, including movies, agricultural subsidies, financial services, movies, anti-dumping duties and taxation.

U.S. and EC negotiators in Geneva had hoped to fly to Brussels with an outline deal. But they delayed their departure and instead arranged an unscheduled evening session at the Geneva headquarters of the General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade to try to settle their differences.

“There are a lot of issues to be resolved,” said GATT Director-General Peter Sutherland after talks with French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur.

“It is of vital importance it be resolved (Monday),” he told reporters in Paris. If not, he warned, “We’re in a very serious crisis.”

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