Jacques Delors, president of the European Commission, warns the United States "to stop insulting us" and "telling us how to run our farms." U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills compares European Community farm policies to the dropping of bombs on Argentine soya fields. Japan's trade minister accuses the "rigid" and "self-righteous" Americans of using trade negotiations "to make the rest of the world more like America." U.S. Agriculture Secretary Clayton Yeutter says if it comes to a farm trade war, the United States is prepared to fight.
Such is the world after the breakdown of ministerial negotiations to broaden and update the 107-nation General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. GATT will reassemble Jan. 15 at a lower level to try again, but the prospects are as uncertain as the United Nations deadline for Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait on that same date.
Much depends on whether the European Community belatedly reforms its Common Agricultural Policy -- the highly protectionist system of subsidies and trade barriers that emerged as the primary obstacle to agreement. Mr. Yeutter believes the EC "suffered a major geopolitical defeat" at the showdown GATT meeting in Brussels early this month. If the community remains "intransigent," he warns, he wants the Europeans to be "a bit frightened by the potential" of the U.S. response.