Brittan urges US to prevent trade war

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BRUSSELS - Sir Leon Brittan will today try to persuade the Clinton administration to hold back from a fully-fledged trade war against the European Community, writes Sarah Lambert.

He will urge the US to try instead to revive the stalled Gatt round and establish a framework for resolving the kinds of dispute that threaten to wreck relations.

Sir Leon's visit comes the day after the White House said it would like an agreement as soon as possible but had not yet decided whether to extend the fast- track procedure enabling it to go through Congress unhampered. The EC commissioner for external economic affairs will meet Mickey Kantor, the US trade representative, Ron Brown, the Secretary of State for Commerce, and Laura Tyson, chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Sir Leon 'will be absolutely firm in his conviction that the recent US sanctions against EC steel imports, telecoms and procurement contracts are unjustifiable', an EC spokesman said. 'But the main purpose of the trip is to meet the new administration and to try to find out exactly what their trade policy is.'

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