European negotiators are entering the final phase of bargaining in the multilateral trade negotiations this week with plans to offer no more than a token concession in response to American demands that they stop subsidizing their exports.
A confidential memorandum instrtcts Common Market negotiators to promise only that European nations will "seek to avoid" such subsidies, but at the same time reserve the right to use them if necessary.
The memo concedes that because of heavy congressional pressures, "some reference to the question of internal subsidies will be indispensable" in order for the Carter administration to get the trade pact approved by Congress.
But, it adds, "The form of words to be attached to the subsidies code should satisfy U.S. needs without jeopardizing the Community's interests." Community" refers to the European Economic Community.
The memorandum, which was designed to set down the final negotiation position of the European delegation, appears to point to rough going for the U.S. bargaining team, headed by Special Trade Representative Robert S. Strauss.
Subsidies are an important symbolic issue in Carter's attempt to obtain approval of the trade agreement. If the lawmakers were to suspect the concession is only token, chances are it could endanger the pact.
At the same time, the document pointed to more willingness on the part of Europeans to accede to another key U.S. demand -- allowing American exporting firms to bid on government contracts in the major European nations.
The memo urges EEC negotiators to agree to open up the bidding to American companies, provided the U.S. will exempt European firms from the congressionally mandated "Buy America" requirement.
It also recommended that the negotiators agree to support a related U.S. proposal for an international crackdown on trade pirates who counterfeit brand-name goods. For example, several firms have been caught making fake Levis.
The proposal is expected to call for beefing up sanctions applied against imporers of counterfeit goods. The U.S. also plans to seek better policing of counterfeit operations, many of whose participants go scot-free.
The Europeans also appear to be taking a firm stance against another key U.S. demand sought by Washington for several years -- a call for liberalizing Common Market barriers against American agricultural products.
The memorandum yesterday reiterated the EEC position that no final trade agreement can be signed until Congress extends Carter's power to waive countervailing duties on cutrate exports -- a key EEC demand.