Meeting in Bangkok in early April, climate change negotiators started grappling with key trade related issues, such as intellectual property rights and competitiveness concerns. Delegates also considered the responsibilities that countries could take on in the post-Kyoto climate regime they hope agree on by 2009. India proposed basing future commitments on per capita emissions, which could potentially

The US Congress has approved a new US$307 billion farm with majorities large enough to override President George W. Bush's veto. The legislation largely continues the current system of agricultural subsidies for the next five years.

The Doha negotiations on fisheries provide a significant opportunity to address overcapacity and overfishing. However, to be effective, future subsidy disciplines need to be coupled with stronger fishery management regimes, including in both public and private access agreements.

Progress in the Doha Round negotiations on trade and the environment remains sluggish, with little convergence in any of the key areas of the talks, including the scope of the mandate itself and the definition of products and services slated for deeper liberalisation on environmental grounds.

WTO Members disagreed in April on the extent to which future multilateral rules on fisheries subsidies should include exceptions for payments to the small-scale fishing sector, as Canada and some other developed countries sought controversial exemptions for their own industry.

Strong and new forces of change in the world food equation are transforming food consumption, production and markets. Unlike the pattern prevailing for the past few decades, today's global agricultural system is very much driven by the demand side. With income growth in emerging economies, globalisation and urbanisation, the demand for agricultural products will continue to grow and shift toward high-value commodities. Partly driven by the expansion of biofuels and demand for feed, strong global cereal consumption is likely to continue.

Japan has initiated a WTO challenge against Ontario

Brazil and the US are locked in hot competition over ethanol trade, with the former seeking more market access and the latter determined to protect its domestic producers.

Bowing to pressure from the European Biodiesel Board (EBB), the EU on 13 March imposed temporary anti-dumping and countervailing duties - ranging from -26 to -41 per 100 kilogrammes - on imports of US biodiesel. The temporary duties may be made permanent after six months, in which case they could stay in place for up to five years.

While exporting and importing governments are often at loggerheads over the legitimacy of sustainability criteria for biofuels, private companies have agreed on a certification scheme that allows verifiably sustainable ethanol to be imported from Brazil to Sweden.