Slim hopes of ending trade row

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MARRAKESH (Reuter) - The US Vice-President, Al Gore, and the Japanese Foreign Minister, Tsutomu Hata, are to meet here today on the sidelines of a Gatt ceremony, with trans-Pacific trade tension high on their agenda. 'Obviously, we're trying to see what is the next step on the (trade) framework, but I don't think the Japanese are in a position to bring anything,' a US official said. Japan was also wary of predicting progress. 'It is unlikely that there will be a new development this week,' a government source said. 'They are not meeting because they have come up with an idea to break the deadlock.' The world's two biggest economies have been at loggerheads since President Clinton and the outgoing Prime Minister, Morihiro Hosokawa, failed to agree in February on ways of reducing Tokyo's trade surplus.