Complete liberalisation is not on the agenda of the WTO talks in Hong Kong next month. But it is hoped progress will still be made towards loosening barriers to the free flow of agricultural products.
The main focus is on the subsidising of exports and high import tariffs. The EU has tabled an offer it claims would reduce its import tariffs by an average of 46%. It has also undertaken to abandon export subsidies. These offers have met a cool reception from other negotiators, but they have created alarm in the dairy sectors of EU countries such as France and Ireland.
The fear is that such changes would make EU subsidy-free exports uncompetitive on world markets while allowing more low-