The fate of the WTO ministerial level talks to forge a global trade deal hangs in balance as the use of a safeguard measure to check imports surges remains the key sticking points between rich and developing nations, who have been engaged in over eight days of negotiations.
"The situation is very tense. Things are finely balanced and the outcome is by no means certain," WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell told reporters on Tuesday.
Rockwell said the rich and the developing countries have been trying to hammer out the differences over use of the Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM).
The spokesman said ministers and officials have been working on various formulations on the issue of SSM.
The core groups of seven nations that includes India, US, Brazil and China will engage in further negotiations to sort the SSM issue.
India has been opposing WTO chief Pascal Lamy's latest proposal under which it will be able to take remedial action only if imports surges by 40 per cent. India has contended that this will wreck havoc on the livelihood of millions of its farmers.
The ongoing meeting of 30 key trade ministers here has spilled over to the second week with negotiators making some progress in talks on Friday to open markets and cut subsidies in agriculture and industrial goods.