Customs Pushes Faster

Than Expected on EDIThe U.S. Customs Service is pushing ahead with electronic data interchange far faster than industry observers had expected.

Plans are to begin testing an electronic version of the European Single Administrative Document as early as this summer.

Brokers are protesting that the new electronic document could have a serious impact on their business, and is being created without their input. Story, Page 5B.

Panama Stores Reopen

As Strike Weakens

PANAMA CITY, Panama - The nation's three largest supermarket chains reopened their stores Wednesday, signaling a major rupture in a 10-day general strike aimed at toppling strongman Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega.

The government announced that the nation's banks, closed since March 3

because of a cash shortage brought on by U.S. economic sanctions, would reopen today with limited service. It announced tight restrictions on withdrawals

from savings and checking accounts.

The Gago, Rey and Super 99 markets in the capital were doing brisk business after Panamanians rushed to buy food and essentials that have been virtually unattainable.

The weakening of the strike came two days after a harsh crackdown on leaders of the National Civic Crusade, which is leading the anti-Noriega fight.

Indian Official Unveils

Import-Export Policy

NEW DELHI, India - Indian Finance Minister Narayan D. Tiwari on Wednesday announced a new three-year trade policy that he said would cut red tape for exporters.

The biggest change in the rules will add 745 items to the list of goods that can be imported under general licenses. About half of them are pharmaceutical drugs and hospital equipment, Mr. Tiwari said. Others include raw materials and engineering components.

The trade policy also will allow the import of capital goods if a manufacturer can prove the equipment is necessary for the production of goods for export. Under the current rules, such imports are barred if the needed capital goods are available from Indian makers.

End of Plywood Tariffs

Awaits New Standards

WASHINGTON - U.S. Trade Representative Clayton Yeutter has told a powerful senator that U.S. tariffs on Canadian plywood won't be lowered until the two countries develop common standards that would allow U.S.-manufactu red plywood to be used in Canada.

In a letter to Sen. Robert Packwood, R-Ore., Mr. Yeutter said the administration will propose that U.S. and Canadian experts from two forest research laboratories develop and draft construction standards for the use of plywood in both countries.

The proposed U.S.-Canada free trade agreement calls for elimination of the 20 percent U.S. tariff on Canadian plywood and the 15 percent tariff on U.S. plywood over 10 years. But the treaty linked elimination of the tariffs to changes in the Canadian construction codes. Story, Page 4A