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PacNet #47 – The WTO at a crossroads

Failure to reach substantive agreements on agricultural and service liberalization will prevent the conclusion of the Doha round of trade negotiations at the Hong Kong World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting in December. East Asia’s rush toward preferential trading arrangements will continue, risking the sidelining of the WTO, as the WTO’s foremost supporters seek a second best option. The rise of China and India will increase the competitive pressures on high-cost skilled labor in the developed countries as well as middle-income developing countries, such as Malaysia and Thailand, poised earlier for graduation into the ranks of developed countries. There will be a growing risk of protectionism rearing its head.