"MEDIATORS at the World Trade Organisation made a bid to salvage a global free trade deal today by proposing compromises to overcome impasses in the key areas of agriculture and industrial goods.
The proposals are seen as possibly the last chance to save the so-called Doha round, which has lurched from crisis to crisis since it was launched in Qatar in 2001 to help lift millions of people out of poverty.
In an attempt to break the deadlock, diplomats chairing the WTO negotiations floated detailed texts spelling out ranges of cuts for farm subsidies and a formula for import tariff cuts for agricultural and industrial goods.
"Some of those narrow ranges or target numbers or technical draft text will be very painful, for sure. But that pain will be required to get agreement," said New Zealand's ambassador to the WTO, Crawford Falconer, who chairs the agriculture negotiations.
Under his plan, the United States would have to cut a ceiling for farm subsidies to between $US13 billion ($14.96 billion) and $US16.4 billion ($18.87 billion) a year, lower than its offer so far of $US17 billion ($19.56 billion).
The European Union would have to cut its highest tariffs on farm imports by 73 per cent, more than its offer of 60 per cent."