GATT COUNTRIES TO OFFER IMPORT TARIFF CUTS

GATT COUNTRIES TO OFFER IMPORT TARIFF CUTS

The United States, the European Community, Japan and other major players at the Uruguay Round trade liberalization talks will present offers today and Tuesday on cutting import tariffs on foreign-manufactured and agricultural goods, said David Woods, spokesman for the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Friday.

Thursday, GATT's Uruguay Round market access group will meet to give participants a chance to explain their offers."Some countries . . . will explain why they have not made any offers at all so far, although all the major countries have promised full presentations of offers," the official said.

The tariff-cutting offers will not cover market access liberalization in the services sector.

Officials said they expected Japan to exclude rice from its offer because Japan opposes any tariffication of rice import restrictions.

The tariff-cutting offers will be evaluated until March 31 after which each country can amend its offer according to concessions made by others or according to goods other countries want to exclude.

The overall aim is an average tariff reduction of 30 percent.

"The U.S. and EC are playing out a war of nerves at the highest level, while their negotiators in Geneva can only deal with technical questions or manufactured goods and services," one source said.

The Uruguay Round talks, which began in 1986, have been stalled over U.S. and EC disagreements about the extent of farm subsidy reductions.

The United States demands sweeping cuts in EC farm export subsidies and internal supports, but the EC has offered only minimal reform of its Common Agricultural Policy.

Arthur Dunkel, GATT director-general, repeatedly has said the Uruguay Round cannot continue beyond mid-April because the United States will be concentrating on the presidential election campaigns.