US, OTHER NATIONS TO MEET ON ENDING BARRIERS TO CROSS-BORDER CAPITAL FLOWS

US, OTHER NATIONS TO MEET ON ENDING BARRIERS TO CROSS-BORDER CAPITAL FLOWS

The United States and other governments will meet in Paris next week to try to renew their push for an accord aimed at boosting international investment flows.

Meanwhile, a coalition of U.S. public-interest groups will heighten its campaign against the proposed pact, arguing it would undercut efforts to improve human rights, labor and environmental standards around the world.The groups, which include Public Citizen, the U.S. Catholic Conference, the Center for International Law and the World Wildlife Federation, plan a massive ''phone-in'' campaign on Tuesday in the U.S. Senate.

At issue is an agreement under negotiation at the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to reduce, if not eliminate, national barriers to cross-border capital flows.

The proposed pact, for example, would guarantee foreign investors the same treatment as domestic investors and accord them greater protection against expropriation and other arbitrary government acts. Disputes would be settled by binding arbitration.

The OECD's 29 member countries, which include the United States, Japan and the 15-nation European Union, have been negotiating the pact since September 1995.

''Most countries,'' said one official close to the talks, ''say we're almost there'' in completing the negotiations. The accord's main planks have been agreed on, another aide said.

But some politically charged issues - authorizing specific exemptions from the rules, how to address environmental and labor questions, and reconciling U.S.-EU differences over investments in expropriated property - remain to be hammered out.

Officials said one thing seems clear: Contrary to earlier expectations, a final agreement will not be reached at an OECD ministerial meeting in late April.