The World Trade Organisation (WTO) will now miss its December deadline for wrapping up a Doha Development Round that would have slashed food production subsides and protective tariffs, the WTO director general Pascal Lamy has admitted.

Speaking after a meeting of the organisation’s trade negotiations committee, Lamy said: “We will certainly not conclude the round this year.” He will recommend a formal suspension of the talks to a Thursday (27 July) meeting of the WTO general council, something that will be rubber-stamped.

The director general called on member countries to use the break for reflection, “so that the dire consequences (of failure) are clear to everybody”. He hoped this would force member countries to compromise on subsidies and tariffs, but warned there was a risk that previous liberalisation offers, such as scrapping food export subsidies, could be withdrawn from the table.