22 October 1999
WTO envoys agree to disagree

Envoys to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) are close to agreeing a revised draft of the final declaration ministers will make when they meet in Seattle in late November.

The round of talks are intended to launch new trade liberalisation talks.

The European Union and Japan rejected an earlier version.

On the key issue of agriculture, and on the scope of the negotiations beyond already-mandated talks on farm trade and services, hugely divergent views are expected to be hard to bridge.

The EU and Japan have been accused by the USA of trying to divert attention away from the need to lower barriers to farm trade which they regard as the core of the negotiations.