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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

'Labor Clause' Said To Threaten GATT

GENEVA -- Developing nations warned Wednesday a U.S. push to have a "labor clause" in a key international trade declaration next month could undo seven years of work in GATT's Uruguay Round.

Addressing a meeting of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade ambassadors, India's Balkrishnan Zutshi said the row had "menace and destructive potential for undoing what we have built so assiduously so far in these seven years.

"Indeed, this cloud has the potential to threaten the very foundations of the multilateral system on which we are committed to build the edifice of a future World Trade Organization," Zutshi added.

The Uruguay Round, the most ambitious accord yet to liberalize world trade, was finalized last December and is expected to be signed by ministers at a meeting in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh next month.

But a U.S. push to have a clause linking labor standards and trade in the Marrakesh final declaration has been rejected by developing countries.

U.S. GATT ambassador John Schmidt told reporters Washington remained committed to the idea of a labor clause which would put the issue of work standards on the agenda of the new World Trade Organization, which is to replace GATT.