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As Viet Nam negotiates entry to the World Trade Organisation, the world’s most powerful countries are working hard to exact the onerous ‘WTO-plus’ commitments which have become characteristic of accession proceedings. Membership could help Viet Nam to benefit from international trade, supporting its efforts to reduce poverty, but the demands from rich countries for excessive liberalisation of imports and foreign investment threaten to undermine this goal and to destroy livelihoods, particularly in rural areas.

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