World Trade Organization negotiators narrowly avoided a collapse of global trade talks on Sunday, supporting a limited agreement that fell short of what U.S. producers and businesses had sought.

The Sunday breakthrough — following a final night of haggling inside the conference center and violent street protests outside — failed to produce a grand bargain.

But trade ministers for the 150 nations of the World Trade Organization did reach agreement to end developed nations' farm-export subsidies by 2013.

Developing countries banded together to win concessions from developed countries to end cotton subsidies in 2006, and the world's 32 poorest countries obtained a commitment to eliminate quotas and tariffs on nearly all of their exports.

The final text lacked many goals set by the U.S., which had wanted more far-reaching accords to cut domestic farm subsidies and tariffs on imports around the world. The United States had sought a deal that would drop the European Union's huge farm subsidies closer to U.S. levels, as part of a global deal to further open markets to U.S. farm and manufactured goods.

Here’s a breakdown of the agreements:

  • Developed countries will end farm-export subsidies by 2013.
  • Developed countries will eliminate all export subsidies on cotton in 2006.
  • Wealthy countries will allow duty-free and quota-free access for 97 percent of exports from countries with per-capita annual incomes below $750.
  • Developed countries didn't get cuts in industrial tariffs.
  • Developing countries didn't get formulas for reducing other farm subsidies and agricultural tariffs.

For farm goods, the trade ministers promised to set levels for subsidy and tariffs cuts by April 30. The same date applies to levels of tariff cuts on manufactured goods, which account for three-fourths of global trade.

The group also agreed to phase out all forms of farm-export subsidies by 2013, three years later than the U.S. wanted, after the EU made a proposal that broke the stalemate.

Nations face a tight Feb. 28 deadline to propose talks to open key sectors, like telecoms, banking, insurance and energy.

They set a 2006 date for ending export subsidies for cotton, a win for West African cotton-producing nations. U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman predicted that provision may prove tough to get through Congress.

Wealthy nations agreed to give duty-free and quota-free access into their markets by 2008 for at least 97 percent of products exported by the so-called least-developed countries.

The WTO is racing to reach a final agreement in 2006 so that Congress can approve the pact before so-called "fast-track authority," which mandates a simple yes-or-no vote on such trade deals without modifications, expires in mid-2007. Without that, progress could falter.

At the same time, the U.S. is working outside the WTO framework by ramping up efforts to negotiate separate agreements with individual countries or regions, such as the Central America Free Trade Agreement that Congress passed in July.

Associated Press, Seattle Times