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No shortage of important trade issues for the US

By Ron SchererStaff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / June 30, 1988



Although the Reagan administration is near the end of its term, several important trade issues await consideration. Other than the trade bill, issues include: US-Canada Free Trade Agreement: This bilateral plan, which would greatly liberalize trading rules between the two nations, is stalled in Congress. At issue is how to settle US-Canada disputes and questions on Canada's agricultural subsidies and uranium production.

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Textile bill: This popular proposal, which would cap textile imports, overwhelmingly passed the House last September. Senator Robert Byrd (D) of West Virginia may soon introduce the bill in the Senate as part of a Democratic strategy to pass other legislation.

Midterm GATT review: At this meeting, scheduled for Dec. 5 in Montreal, the US and the 95 other members of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade will meet to review progress in world trade negotiations.

Canadian fishing rights: After losing a case before GATT on a requirement that fish caught in Canadian waters be processed in Canada, Ottawa now wants the fish ``landed'' on Canadian shores prior to shipment to US markets. The US wants assurances Canada will conform with the GATT ruling.

Brazilian pharmaceuticals: If Brazil doesn't pass legislation to protect foreign patents on pharmaceuticals soon, Ambassador Yeutter says the US ``will probably'' retaliate with restrictions on Brazil's exports to the US.

European Community: There are two major disputes involving the EC. In the first, the EC, which objects to the use of hormones in US cattle production, is planning to ban the import of such beef. This issue must be settled by Dec. 31. The second issue is the subsidies the EC provides Airbus Industries.