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US urges last-ditch WTO trade agreement, India won't budge; body's effectiveness questioned

  • 2d15d163ccb6eb28440f6a7067008aa1.jpg

    India's Trade Minister Anand Sharma, left, listens during the plenary session of the Ninth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Bali, Indonesia, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)The Associated Press

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    India's Trade Minister Anand Sharma , left, talks with EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, right, during the opening of the Ninth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Bali, Indonesia, Tuesday, Dec 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)The Associated Press

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    Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, right, arrives for the opening of the Ninth Ministerial Conference at the World Trade Organization in Bali, Indonesia, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Edgar Su, Pool)The Associated Press

Chances of a breakthrough in global trade negotiations dimmed as India refused to budge on food subsidies that are an obstacle to an eleventh hour agreement at a WTO summit.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman on Wednesday urged the World Trade Organization's 159 member economies to work past their differences to finalize a slimmed-down deal to boost trade.

But Indian Trade Minister Anand Sharma left little hope for a breakthrough.

His government opposes a provision that could endanger subsidies for grains under an Indian policy to feed its poor.

The talks on Indonesia's resort island of Bali will either produce a deal that could boost global trade by $1 trillion or possibly spell the end of the WTO's relevance as a forum for negotiations after a decade of inertia.