The member governments of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have rejected an offer from the Doha Development Round agricultural talks chairman Ambassador Crawford Falconer to draft an agreement for the December 13-18 Hong Kong summit.

Diplomats told him they would prefer to produce their own draft text, following a series of meetings in national capitals. The reply was a solid “no”.

“I don’t think I’ve seen so much unanimity in a [meeting like this] in a long time,” said Falconer. Past chairmen have produced draft agreements, but these have proved counterproductive if they were not acceptable to key countries, promoting discord, rather then focusing agreement.