25 November 1999
WTO talks ‘could be catastrophe’

NEXT weeks ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Seattle “could be a catastrophe”, according to the Financial Times

The prediction comes in the wake of this weeks meeting of trade envoys in Geneva which failed to agree an agenda for next weeks meeting.

Agriculture was at the heart of a dispute between two entrenched blocs.

Opponents of subsidies for the farming sector — the USA and the Cairns Group of 15 agricultural free-traders — were unable to reach a deal with the EU and Japan, which were determined to protect their markets.

The newspaper, in a wide-ranging scene-setter for Seattle meeting, sees little chance of progress being made on agriculture and farm trade there either.