Delegates from 90 nations agreed today to vote on plans for a new round of international trade negotiations in November and put aside disagreements over including the service sector until then.
But the decision reached after a special three-day meeting of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade did not completely resolve the controversy over services.
The United States said the decision to proceed with the new talks indicated that services, such as banking and insurance, would be included. The five developing countries said they continued to maintain their opposition to any such action.
"We are very pleased with the outcome of the meeting, but, of course, the fundamental issue is not solved," Brazilian Ambassador Paulo Batista Nogueira told reporters. "This decision will not prejudice existing work on services."
The United States has insisted that services be included in any new round, while five developing countries -- Brazil, India, Argentina, Yugoslavia and Egypt -- have said the new negotiations should concentrate on trade in goods. Both sides were placated in the compromise put together by conference Chairman Felipe Jaramillo of Colombia at the close of the three-day meeting.
The declaration, adopted by consensus -- as is traditional in GATT -- agreed that a preliminary process leading towards a new round has now been started. It said that:
*A group of senior officials, most likely ambassadors meeting in Geneva, will convene Oct. 14 to discuss key issues of the new round.
*This group will report to the regular annual meeting of the 90-nation GATT in November.
*A decision will be taken then on the establishment of a preparatory committee for the new round.
"It was extremely important that we had a unanimous decision on the launching of this process," GATT Secretary General Arthur Dunkel said. "But the November meeting will be extremely important and very difficult."
Deputy U.S. Trade representative Michael B. Smith, head of the U.S. delegation, was not immediately available for comment. But other U.S. sources said he had gone along with the compromise drafted by Jaramillo because it was sufficiently vague to allow the United States to bring up the question of services in the expert group convening Oct. 14.
U.S. Trade Representative Clayton Yeutter welcomed the GATT agreement. He said, "This is an important step forward toward the new round of negotiations that the U.S. believes is essential to build a strong international trade system.