The long awaited WTO trade summit in Qatar opens tomorrow, [Friday], amidst signs that the world’s trading nations may be prepared to intensify the ongoing agricultural round, so that more tariffs and quotas are removed and more production subsidies are scrapped, than diplomats have so far contemplated.

A draft communiqué on the food trade seems to move towards liberalisation, saying: “Building on the work…to date, we commit ourselves to comprehensive negotiations aimed at: substantial improvements in market access; reductions of, (leading)… to, phasing out all…export subsidies; and substantial reductions in trade-distorting domestic support.

“However, ministers are also being asked to agree deadlines for the talks, which could allow malcontents, (maybe including the EU), some leeway.

By Keith Nuthall, correspondent