The United States accused its trading partners yesterday of stalling in global free-trade negotiations and warned that a failure of the talks threaten the system of economic cooperation that brought unparalleled growth to the world since World War II.

"We are not as far advanced as we need to be at this time in the negotiations. Time has become our enemy," Julius Katz, deputy U.S. trade representative, told other negotiators in the Uruguay Round of talks to expand and strengthen the rules of international trade, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

While he did not single out any of the more than 100 countries taking part in the GATT talks, Katz said national leaders have delayed making the political decisions necessary to move the negotiations forward.

Further, he reminded the negotiators that while President Bush strongly supports the Uruguay Round, Bush has stated that the United States prefers no agreement to a bad one.

The talks end in December and negotiations this week in Geneva were deemed by GATT Director General Arthur Dunkel as crucial to breaking deadlocks. Instead, U.S. officials said the gridlocks remain, although some progress was reported yesterday over liberalizing farm trade, a major impediment to the talks.

"There are blockages in every major area, in every area of importance to the United States," said a U.S. trade official in Geneva.

"It is clear there has not been the chemistry {in the negotiations} to start moving toward one another."

Among key negotiating areas in which deadlocks persist, the official said, are expanding GATT rules to cover the free flow of investment, trade in services such as banking, insurance and engineering, and protection against piracy for patented products -- all areas of particular concern to the United States.

Negotiations also are deadlocked over ending quotas on textiles, an area of great importance to Third World nations, and improving GATT rules, the U.S. official said.

In separate briefings in Geneva, spokesmen for GATT, Japan and the 12-nation European Community suggested that high-ranking trade ministers will have to get more involved in the talks when they resume a month from now, reported John Parry, a special correspondent for The Washington Post.