G-7 summit of small victories ends Leaders unable to reach accord on trade and tariffs, other issues

July 09, 1992|By Carl Schoettler | Carl Schoettler,Staff Writer

MUNICH, Germany -- The leaders of the seven richest industrial countries ended their economic summit here with a brave communique that glossed over major differences and celebrated small victories.

The Group of Seven leaders came out foursquare and very predictably for "stronger, sustainable, non-inflationary economic growth."

But they were unable to reach conclusions on tougher issues such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which has been kicking around at the last three G-7 summits.

"We all recognize that completing the Uruguay Round will give a major boost to world growth by expanding trade for all countries," President Bush said at a news conference on the communique.

But the final report of this year's summit is virtually the same as last year's: It promises an agreement on GATT before the end of the year.

Mr. Bush spoke of the Uruguay Round because these GATT negotiations began in Uruguay in 1986. GATT is stalled over disagreements between the United States and the European Community about farm subsidies.

French President Francois Mitterrand gets most of the blame here for his unwillingness to move on French and EC farm policies. But Mr. Mitterrand declined to accept the blame at his news conference and said that other G-7 leaders were even more stubborn.

He and Mr. Bush had an intimate dinner, at which GATT was discussed, with only aides and a couple of fax machines present.

"Dinner was very interesting, very friendly," Mr. Mitterrand said. "Our personal relationship is very good. But good personal relationships cannot overnight solve political problems.

"He represents a great country, the greatest power in the world. I represent France. Our interests are not necessarily the same."

Concessions must be made, he said. The United States and the EC must meet halfway.

"I observe that the European Community has done its bit," Mr. Mitterrand said. "I'm waiting, hoping, for America to do as much."

Although optimistic -- and denying that he was influenced by the coming U.S elections -- Mr. Bush said: "We are not going to enter a deal that is detrimental to the U.S. agricultural economy."

Everyone here believes that a GATT accord will be easier to reach after the Sept. 20 French referendum on the Maastricht Treaty on European integration.

Mr. Mitterrand is seen as unwilling to shake up French farmers before the vote with a trade agreement they probably won't like. Most of the EC members among Group of Seven tend to sympathize, if not agree.

The other G-7 leaders are Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany, Prime Minister John Major of Britain, Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa of Japan, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney of Canada and Prime Minister Giuliano Amato of Italy.

Jacques Delors, European Community president, attends as EC delegate.

Mr. Kohl, as the summit host, read the final communique in the concert hall of the Residenz, the vast complex of palaces of the Bavarian kings, where the summit was ensconced.

During the summit, Mr. Kohl pushed for action on improving the safety of Soviet nuclear power plants in Central and Eastern Europe. The leaders agreed that the plants gave "cause for great concern," but they left funding of the first $780 million to agreements with individual members.

The EC has agreed to provide $400 million. the United States $100 million, but Japan only $25 million.

Japan had been sticky on almost all agreements affecting the Russians because of a territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands that the former Soviet Union seized at the end of World War II.

"I told the Japanese, perhaps indiscreetly, that everything can't depend on an island group," Mr. Kohl said.

The Japanese got their mention of the territorial dispute in the political declaration Tuesday.

Japan emerged as the standard-bearer of Asian-Pacific interests this summit. References to Asian organizations and needs in the political declaration and the final communique are there because of Japan.

The developing countries received encouragement and concern, and not much more.

"We shall pay regard to the effects of our policies on the developing countries," the G-7 leaders said. They said they would meet their commitments and try to offer more but didn't make any promises.

"We shall support in particular those countries that undertake credible efforts to help themselves," their communique said.

They urged, supported and encouraged Central and Eastern European countries to continue their progress toward democracy and political and economic reform. They spoke of aid but failed to mention any particular amounts.

Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin, the man who came to dinner a day early at the summit and didn't even wear a dress suit, said he was happy with what he got.

When he spoke, he was sitting next to his host, Mr. Kohl, at the summit's last news conference.

Mr. Yeltsin received assurances that he would get $24 billion already promised to him a couple of weeks ago and a promise that the Group of Seven would push for rescheduling of about $70 billion in debt left over from the former Soviet Union.

He stunned the other leaders by offering to swap factories, energy resources and other properties for Russian debt.

"It was a bolt from the blue," Mr. Mulroney said.

Several demonstrators for the environment -- which got short shrift at the meetings -- stood up yelling at the Yeltsin-Kohl news conference.

"That's democracy," Mr. Kohl explained, as security men carried the people out.

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