The first draft ‘modalities’ agreement setting the goals for the ongoing agricultural liberalisation talks at the World Trade Organisation has received a not unexpected frosty reception from diplomats.

It had suggested, for instance, that all agricultural tariffs greater than 90% should be cut on average by 60%. All parties have attacked the proposals, with the US claiming it does not go far enough and would maintain high levels of protection.

The EU has also criticised the draft for allegedly spreading the cuts unevenly amongst developed countries.

Meanwhile, non-governmental organisations have supported developing countries in claiming the draft would allow rich countries to continue dumping subsidised exports on their markets. The deadline for agreeing these goals is 31 March.