As ministers meet to revive the next WTO round, the European Commission has yet to find a satisfactory way of getting expensive European animal welfare standards on to the trading agenda. Its chances of doing so are as slim as ever, despite the fact the executive has been committed to protecting sectors such as the EU egg industry from the ravages of cheap third country imports. On current costings, last year's EU laying hen directive could strip the British egg industry of between 20% and 30% of its laying flock. The rest of the EU stands to lose as great a proportion, if not more, depending on the degree of compliance in other member states. The gap will be made up by cheap third country imports ­ unless they are produced under the same conditions. {{PROVISIONS }}