The European Commission has set out its stall at the World Trade Organisation's agricultural liberalisation talks, offering the US and other key trading partners the carrot of a 55% cut in "trade distorting domestic farm support" subsidies, if they reciprocate with similar reductions.

The proposal will intensify these negotiations - held under the umbrella of the WTO's Doha Development Round - with arguments doubtless focusing on what "trade distorting domestic" aid actually means.

Brussels has also offered to cut its import tariffs on agricultural goods by 36% and export subsidies by 45%, while offering duty and quota free access for exports from least developed countries.