U.S. Trade Representative Clayton Yeutter said today that the industrial nations will proceed with a new round of global trade talks even without the participation of "intransigent" developing countries such as India, Egypt and Brazil.
Yeutter said the trade talks -- a central focus of the seven-nation economic summit last May -- were too important to be stymied by a "distinct minority." Yeutter did not name any countries, but European officials said that the Third World nations attempting to block the talks were India, Egypt and Brazil.
Yeutter also said that the administration would veto any protectionist legislation that passed Congress, which he said he believes is in a concerned -- rather than protectionist -- mood.
Yeutter is here for four days of talks with the trade ministers of Japan, the Economic Community, and Canada. The four trading partners, which account for more than 60 percent of world trade, are attempting to strike a consensus on issues for negotiation at the new round of trade talks under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
If any protectionist legislation passes Congress, "a veto is almost assured within the administration," Yeutter said. "The Congress understands that full well. Congress is delivering a message to the administration that we need to deal vigorously and decisively with trade problems."
Yeutter said he will try to convince Congress that the administration is prepared to do just that and "not accept any legislation or engage in any horsetrading on any protectionist legislation."
The administration hoped that movement on the trade talks would lessen protectionist pressures in Congress. However, in a meeting in Geneva this week, Brazil, India and Egypt again voiced their opposition to a new GATT round, European officials here said, because they want to exclude trade and services from negotiation to protect them from competition from more advanced nations.
The United States is the world leader in services trade and wants to ensure that markets are open in order to expand its services exports.
Brazil had moved away from the hardline position led by India, but this week it resumed opposition to the talks, European officials said.
Yeutter said that during talks with the other trade ministers today, "All of us were disturbed with the discussions" in Geneva this week. He said that Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Michael Smith, who was at the talks, "was disturbed with the continued intransigence of some developing countries and articulated those concerns to all of us."
The trade ministers meeting here "agreed that it's important to bring the process forward and not allow rigid and unjustifiable positions to delay the process," Yeutter said. "Global interests are too important to be stymied by a few."
"Our best judgment based on discussions this morning . . . is that the resistance to a new round comes from a very small number of developing nations, a distinct minority," Yeutter continued. "We should not permit a small number of developing nations to impede the progress." Yeutter said that he hoped the GATT agreed.
Yeutter said that he would "advocate that we proceed without that intransigent minority."
During the economic summit in May the French blocked the setting of a date for the GATT talks. The United States and other allies hoped for a date in 1986, and are preparing for the negotiations.
Yeutter today downplayed the dispute about the date. He said that his impression from the other three trade ministers in discussions so far is that participants will be prepared to begin the new round next year.