WASHINGTON REPORT US-EC PASTA PACT STILL COOKING

The United States and the European Community still are trying to smooth out the wrinkles in the citrus-pasta trade accord reached a week ago.

This week,the United States plans to rescind the 30 percentand 40 percenttariffs it imposed on EC pasta, while the EC will withdraw the tariff increases it applied in reprisal on U.S. lemons and walnuts.But it won't be before next month that the EC and the United States will implement other provisions in the accord. First,the EC's Council of Ministers must approve the pact and right now Europe is on holiday.

Not until the EC Council clears the accord will the United States sign an agreement with the EC increasing the present import quota on EC semi-finished steel.

The EC had expected that the United States would sign the steel pact immediately.

Similarly,the United States will not enlarge EC cheese import quotas until the EC acts to lower its duties on U.S. citrus products,almonds and groundnuts.

There is even a chance that the United States might not enlarge the cheese quotas until October, because of procedural factors.

The United States held another round of talks last week with the United Kingdom on future ground rules for air service between the two countries.

But as of Friday negotiators still had not agreed on how to replace the capacity accord that expired in July. A State Department official said the capacity issue was discussed early last week. Thursday and Friday discussion turned to pricing issues. The United States is seeking a more liberal agreement,allowing for greater competition,than the one just expired.

It's becoming clear that Congress may not get an acid rain bill to the White House this year.

The House Energy Committee met briefly last week to prepare for final consideration on the measure. It adjourned without taking any votes. The bill won't be considered again by the House panel until at least September.

The House Ways and Means Committee, which had been making noise about holding hearings of its own on the revenue-raising aspects of the proposal, has scheduled nothing.

It's taken two years, but the government is a bit closer to appointing commissioners to look into shipbuilding and national defense.

A staff from the Navy has been mobilized for the so-called Bennett

Commission, named after its sponsor Rep. Charles E. Bennet, D-Fla., chairman of the House Armed Services' Seapower Subcommittee.

But the executive branch decided months ago that naming representative commissioners from industry, as required by the 1984 law, would constitute a conflict of interest. So, no members have been named.

The House took the initiative and passed legislation in May to exempt members of this public-private industry commission from the conflict of interest requirements.

The Senate ignored the matter. But, to get things rolling, the House attached the substance of its bill to the defense authorization measure last week. That at least will put the issue before a House-Senate conference committee after the recess.

One of those little-noticed-and-tucked-away provisions that tax bills are famous for would strike a blow against insurance company use of gender-based mortality tables.

The provision would kill the $1,000 annual tax exclusion that widows and widowers receive on the interest payments from the insurance policies of their spouses.

The Senate provision, agreed to by the House, would require sex neutral mortality tables be used for determining what portion of the payments are actually interest.

The Water Resources Development Act hasn't made the progress congressional staff and industry sources predicted earlier this year.

But action on the port and waterway plan after Congress returns from its August recess still is a possibility.

Proposals have been bouncing back and forth between the House and Senate, one staffer said.

Senate Public Works Committee Chairman Robert T. Stafford, R-Vt., still is hopeful Congress will pass the long-standing attempt to reform funding for port and waterways development and dredging projects before the legislative body recesses for the year Oct. 3.

All commercial airlines flying between the United States and Manila, capital of the Philippines, now are required to notify passengers that the U.S. government considers there to be inadequate security at Manila International Airport.

The notice requirement was imposed last week by Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Dole following a review of preliminary findings about security at Manila airport by the Federal Aviation Administration in May.

Notice of inadequate security must be written and included in, or on, tickets issued to Manila-bound travelers.

The House floor flurry last week over whether the Great Lakes should be allocated defense cargoes looked like it might cut straight through the Port of Baltimore.

Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, R-Md., spoke and voted against the amendment, offered by Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio. Her usual staunch advocacy was in the face of the position of her new ranking minority member of the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, Rep. Robert W. Davis of Michigan, who favored it.

Rep. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., another protector of the interests of the Port of Baltimore, kept silent during debate but, in the end, was recorded as voting against the measure.

For the full story: Log In, Register for Free or Subscribe