The Gatt Deal: The dealers: fair, tough, urbane and direct: Sir Leon Brittan: passionate free trader

SIR LEON BRITTAN is the European Commission's bulldog. He inherited the trade portfolio in a Commission reshuffle last year and the chemistry between him and Mickey Kantor, his US counterpart and also a lawyer-turned politician, has been crucial in breaking the stalemate in US-EU trade relations, writes Sarah Lambert.

He has a reputation for being tough but fair and practical, and is a passionate free trader. In the past, as competition commissioner, he opposed state aid to French industry and this brought him into conflict with Paris. As a result he has had to work hard to persuade France he has its best interests at heart. His success is based on the fact that, deep-down, Paris respected his ability to pull off a deal, and the US knew it could therefore trust him to deliver what he promised. He is known to have ambitions to replace Jacques Delors as President of the European Commission next year: Gatt can only enhance them.

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