Officials from the 149 nations in the World Trade Organization have wrapped up their first day of talks in Hong Kong, against a backdrop of protests and demonstrations.
European Union delegates on Tuesday defended themselves against accusations they are blocking a breakthrough on agricultural subsidies. But WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said there is still a chance for agreement at the meeting.
Rich countries want developing economies to drop tariffs on manufactured products and services. Poor countries say they will not do so until industrialized nations ease barriers to agricultural trade.
Analysts say the six days of negotiations are unlikely to produce a consensus.
As the talks were being held, police used pepper spray to disperse some 45-hundred people demonstrating about 500 meters from the meeting site.
Demonstrators included groups who say the WTO is unfair to poor countries, and farmers and fishermen who say the organization's trade regulations will destroy their livelihood.