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Gore urges deep cuts in barriers to farm trade

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DAVOS, Switzerland -- Vice President Al Gore Friday proposed "broad and deep" cuts in barriers to international farm trade and urged Japan to do more to help the world economy.

The United States will also do its part, he said, speaking at the World Economic Forum. President Clinton's 2000 budget, which will be sent to Congress next week, will propose "significant new funding" for relieving the debt of poor nations, he said."Especially in this time of turmoil, the United States cannot and will not take growth for granted," Gore told a select audience of political and business leaders. "That is a course we hope other nations will follow as well."

But he said other countries would have to contribute to stimulating the world's economy and said the United States cannot be the only country to boost imports in economically turbulent times.

"The world looks to Japan to make some appropriate changes in the way it discharges its responsibilities as the second-largest economy in the world," he said.

He said some Japanese claim the world is pressing them to do too much, "but Japan's economy has been stalled for seven years."

"Please," he said. "We need your help to deal with this global economic crisis."

He also urged the European Union to "press ahead with long-needed structural reforms" and stimulate domestic demand to do its share to help end Asian economic troubles.

Gore noted that last week President Clinton backed moves for a new round of global trade negotiations to expand trade in services, manufacturing and farm products.

"I am especially hopeful that these trade talks will raise living standards for the world's farmers and ranchers," he said, announcing that the United States will call for "broad and deep" reductions in agricultural tariffs, which now average 40 percent.

Gore, who arrived Thursday in the Swiss ski resort of Davos to speak to the 1,600 business, government and other leaders attending the forum, also is meeting on the sidelines with Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss.

Earlier, finance officials from Europe, Japan and the United States said they must work together to steer the world economy away from crisis but had trouble agreeing on specific measures.

There was discord on issues such as whether Japan is about to emerge from its economic malaise and whether currency controls would help or harm global financial stability.

Deputy Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said he opposed calls by Japan and several European countries for coordination by the world's seven wealthiest nations to try to limit currency fluctuations.

Summers said recent financial crises "had much more to do with domestic capital flight than it did with the behavior of external speculators."

Eisuke Sakakibara, Japan's vice minister of finance, predicted that Japan's economy will bottom out by the middle of this year. "Financial panic . . . is about to be over," he said.