WTO issues new draft trade deals after all-night talks

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World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiators released new draft deals on Friday after all-night talks in Abu Dhabi, showing that several key issues remained unresolved hours away from their deadline, which has already been extended twice.

The biennial conference is seeking to revise global commerce rules on a range of topics including curbing fishing subsidies and extending a moratorium on digital trade tariffs – a move that has overwhelming government and business support but that India and South Africa oppose.

A draft agriculture deal showed that a key reform sought by India on permitted government support levels for farmers was still not agreed, with two alternative solutions sitting side by side.

A fisheries text showed that forced labour issues, an important topic for the United States and the duration of phase-in periods for developing countries seen as key for many African countries were not yet decided.

It remained unclear if concerns voiced by Pacific islands seeking a more ambitious deal had been addressed.

Trade delegates were divided on where things stood. “Not great,” said one WTO ambassador. Another trade delegate involved in the fisheries talks said the remaining issues could be surmounted while another described them as “huge”.

Negotiations continue with a closing ceremony scheduled for 2 PM (1000 GMT) in the Gulf state.