26 October 1999
Agriculture threatens WTO agenda

EFFORTS by leading World Trade Organisation members to agree an outline agenda for a new world trade round have been hampered by a split over agriculture policy.

Trade ministers from 24 countries are currently meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.

But discussions on a common policy broke down over demands by Australia, Argentina and other South American exporters of agricultural products.

They wanted WTO members to agree that the planned negotiations would extend to farm exports the same multilateral rules and disciplines that apply to other products.

The proposal was rejected by the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland and Norway.