The Breakdown of Trade Talks

Who Pays the Price It is known as the Uruguay Round of the GATT talks, and that alone can make eyes glaze over. But the current stalemate could be costly for most Americans, and everyone else.

IN A RED TILE VILLA OVERLOOKING Lake Geneva, long-suffering diplomats shuttle in and out of meetings, their faces betraying anxiety that the most ambitious overhaul of international-trade rules since World War II is floundering. In Brussels, European Community officials denounce the hard-nosed obstinacy of their American counterparts. In Washington, George Bush struggles to convey optimism, dropping vague references to "new ideas" that might break the logjam between Washington and the E.C. In Tokyo, ministers try quietly to bridge the gap between Europe and the U.S., lest there be any interruption of the trade machine upon which Japan's now imperiled prosperity depends.

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