Center Stage in Denver

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DENVER: While this year's summit of major industrial nations will focus on topics ranging from terrorism to infectious diseases, President Clinton intends to steal the spotlight by flaunting the state of the U.S. economy. Clinton, who will arrive in Denver today for the three-day Summit of the Eight, has already set the tone, highlighting the American model of economic development and the policies the Administration has utilized to support private enterprise. "It's indefinable and intangible, but I think it has a lot to do with why we are who we are," he crowed to the Wall Street Journal today. "We're sort of constantly in the act of becoming." But the Summit, which for the first time includes the economically demolished Russia, will be more than show and tell. On the agenda are some tough issues for Clinton, including debate on NATO expansion and how to integrate Russia more fully in the global economy. The issue of America's ballooning trade deficit with Japan will be taken up immediately, with Clinton and Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto holding a one-on-one in advance of Friday's kickoff. In a bit of surprising news on the Japanese front, the Administration announced an agreement with Japan that will allow the U.S. greater input in Hashimoto's attempt to deregulate a number of his nation's industries, including telecommunications. Among those expected to attend the 23rd annual meeting, renamed the Summit of Eight to account for Russia, will be Russian President Boris Yeltsin, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi.