MILAN, ITALY — UNITED STATES sentiment toward its most important trading partners is more positive now than two years ago, according to a poll conducted by the Gallup Organization. West European trade practices are seen as more fair than those of Japan and Korea, but less equitable than Canada, with whom the US is engaged in a free trade agreement. Released May 17, the results are from a survey of 1,001 adult Americans. With 320 million people, the 12-nation European Community (EC) represents the largest market for US exports. American awareness of the EC has increased a dramatic 18 percentage points to 47 percent during the past two years, the poll shows.
The most surprising result ``is how favorable the American public is toward European integration,'' says Richard Buckholder Jr., vice president, international, social, and political research at Gallup. The EC has targeted 1992 as the time when intra-EC national borders will be open to free trade, free movement of labor, services, and capital.
In terms of 1992's benefits for US business, 42 percent said that unified and simplified European regulations and standards will facilitate US exports to the EC. Thirty-eight percent said US companies will have to become more competitive.
When asked what type of relationship the US should have with the EC, 75 percent responded positively to creating a ``special relationship.''
Andreas Van Agt, ambassador of the EC's Commission to Washington, assured a mixed US and European audience in Milan on May 19 that a ``special relationship'' is indeed evolving from the six meetings per year of European and US officials.
US Secretary of State James Baker has called for a US-EC treaty. The content would include access to Europe's planned single market, and issues related to the EC's ``changing political role'' brought on by reforms in Eastern Europe, according to Thomas Niles, the US ambassador to Brussels responsible for EC affairs.
Frans Andriessen, vice president of the EC's Commission, says that there is ``hesitation in the European Community'' concerning Mr. Baker's call for a treaty. The EC is not yet in the position to make foreign policy on a ``structural and legal relationship.''