FRANCE CAUTIOUSLY WELCOMES DEAL

FRANCE CAUTIOUSLY WELCOMES DEAL

France gave a lukewarm response to the embryonic EC-U.S. trade accord Thursday, intensifying pressure for more concessions from Washington in the final countdown to the Dec. 15 deadline for a global trade agreement.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe welcomed moves by the United States to address European concerns over agricultural imports. But he stressed there was no basis yet for a final agreement on agriculture or audiovisual industries, the main French concerns.By contrast, German Economics Minister Guenther Rexrodt expressed an ''enormous welcome" after EC Trade Commissioner Sir Leon Brittan briefed foreign ministers on his two days of negotiations with U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor.

France has threatened to veto an agreement in the Uruguay Round of trade talks under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade unless the United States agreed to changes in the November 1992 Blair House agreement limiting farm subsidies.

Paris has adopted a more conciliatory tone in recent weeks as French industry ended its silence on the trade talks and came out strongly in favor of Uruguay Round deal.

French farm unions also have toned down their protests against Blair House after assurances from the government that it will not sign an agreement that doesn't protect France's "vital" interests.

France is expected to approve the agreement at the last minute to end its increasing isolation in the community and repair its strained alliance with Germany.

The final EC-U.S. agreement, expected Monday, will be brought into the quagmire of French politics next week when an emotional yearlong debate over the Uruguay Round comes to a boil.

Mr. Juppe likely will maintain an ambivalent stance when EC foreign ministers meet again here Monday, delaying final approval until the EC's winter summit on Dec. 10-11.

The government has to tread carefully because the Uruguay Round has fanned a public clamor to protect French farmers from American grain barons and French culture from Hollywood.

Prime Minister Edouard Balladur wants a draft Uruguay Round text to be put before both the National Assembly and the Senate between Dec. 10 and 15.