Brussels, January 8:

Peter Mandelson, EU trade commissioner, will press the Bush administration in Washington today to rescue the stalled talks on world trade liberalisation by committing itself in principle to radical cuts in US farm subsidies.

In talks with his American counterpart, Susan Schwab, he will warn that failure to agree to reforms of the US agriculture support system in the next three months would mean the collapse of the so-called Doha round and that any revival of global trade talks would be unlikely before 2010.

“We are not there yet but I am convinced there’s a deal to be done in agr-iculture,” Mandelson said on the eve of talks, which will involve US president and the European commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso. “We are not so far apart on the numbers and we know what each other can do but we have not yet agreed on equivalences - on what equals what to reduce farm subsidies and tariffs. The key is to show political will.”

“We still have a mountain to climb and there’s a narrow opening between now and March. It can be done and it should be done because there’s a huge amount to lose politically and economically, if we fail.”