Dear friends,

At the start of the Fifth Ministerial of the World Trade Organization, the IRC presents a series of materials on the WTO and free trade. Our aim is to deepen understanding of the process, its effects on our lives and others’, and what exactly is at stake in the talks.

Although expectations of the Hong Kong meeting have diminished considerably as it has become clear that little agreement exists between developed and developing nations on key issues, the WTO meeting in Hong Kong will be an important measure of progress for those of us working in the movement for global justice and fair trade.

Has the free trade model reached an impasse due to its failure on development issues? How strong is the opposition from governments and citizenries? Are clear alternatives emerging? Both within official meetings and outside in the myriad seminars, discussions, and protests planned, these and many more questions will be raised. Even a seemingly anti-climactic outcome