The World Trade Organisation (WTO) agricultural talks that could deliver improved global market access to hundreds of thousands of food companies are – finally – moving to a conclusion, with a first draft of a deal being circulated on 19 June.

Geneva diplomats say that member governments have now tacitly agreed to strike a deal by the end of June that would clear the way for the WTO’s Doha Development Round to be wrapped up by Christmas.

International trade ministers are expected to descend on Geneva in the last week of this month to approve a ‘modalities’ agreement on slashing tariffs, production subsidies and restrictive import quotas.

Although there have been many false dawns at the Doha talks, this is the first time diplomats have talked in such practical terms about wrapping up the negotiations. However, as ever with the WTO, there is always the risk of last minute hitches spoiling the party.