Patt to Hold Talks with Reagan Aides

Minister of Commerce and Industry Gideon Patt leaves for Washington today for a new round of talks with Reagan Administration officials on the projected U.S.-Israel Free Trade Area (FTA). He said, prior to his departure, that the two countries were in agreement on about 80 percent of the issues.

The FTA, agreed to in principle by President Reagan and Premier Yitzhak Shamir at their meeting in Washington last year, calls for the reduction or elimination of tariff barriers between the two countries.

In the latest round of talks, Israel is expected to demand that the introduction of duty-free American goods to the Israeli market be on a gradual basis to avoid worsening the country’s balance of payments deficit.

The Americans are expected to insist on a gradual withdrawal of government subsidies for Israeli exports which they consider unfair competition. Patt is reported to be ready to agree to a wide range of concessions in that regard.

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