EC FARM GROUP TO LOBBY AGAINST BLAIR HOUSE PACT

EC FARM GROUP TO LOBBY AGAINST BLAIR HOUSE PACT

The European Community's farmers umbrella association COPA is sending a delegation of senior officials to Geneva to lobby against the "catastrophic" U.S.-EC Blair House pact on reduction of farm subsidies, the organization said Monday.

The delegation will meet on Dec. 1 with Peter Sutherland, director-general of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which sets rules for most of the world's trade.U.S.-EC disagreement on farm issues has been a key reason for the delay in concluding the GATT-sponsored Uruguay Round trade liberalization talks, now in their seventh year.

COPA officials also will meet EC Agriculture Commissioner Rene Steichen the same day.

COPA said its members would lobby governments and the public on "the catastrophic effects of a GATT agreement based on the (outline draft Uruguay Round text) and the Blair House accord."

The farm group said it will have a delegation in Geneva from now until the Uruguay Round completion deadline of Dec. 15 for the negotiations and will hold a series of press conferences.

In London, U.K. National Farmers' Union President David Naish told an agricultural show Monday the farm sector should not be made to bear the brunt of the blame for delays in the Uruguay Round.

"We have always made it clear that a GATT deal would be beneficial for the economy as a whole but difficult for farmers. We want a deal, but not at any price," he said.

"Farmers can and will adapt, but only if governments both here and around the world have the will to break the deadlock," Mr. Naish said. He advised farmers to think long and hard about the structure of their businesses if they wished to survive into the next century.

Tran Van Thinh, EC ambassador to the GATT, said Monday at a conference in Paris that the United States and EC have made progress in behind-the-scenes bilateral talks over farm trade.

Mr. Van Thinh said Washington has agreed to discuss all of the issues raised by the EC relating to Blair House. He was apparently referring to technical talks.