LINGERING DIFFERENCES over agriculture have delayed a draft outline of a World Trade Organisation trade accord due to be agreed by the end of the month, reports the Financial Times.

Trade diplomats suggest that the draft may not emerge until the end of next week (w/e July 16).

This has led some negotiators to express fears that it may be impossible to broker a meaningful deal within the timetable set out.

“I can‘t see how we can do it. We‘re running out of time,” one official told the paper.

Shataro Oshima, Japan‘s WTO ambassador and current chairman of the ruling general council, had hoped the draft outline would come out in the next couple of days.

But Tim Grosner, chairman of the agriculture talks, is reported to have asked for more time so countries can narrow their differences on “deal-breaking issues”.

Trade ministers from the US, EU, Brazil, India and Australia will meet in Paris over the weekend (July 10/11) to try to move the negotiations forward.