An economist says the shipping industry's business will double in the next six to seven years to keep pace with a twofold increase in world trade over the coming decade. The president of the New York-based Container & Intermodal Institute, William Ralph, said liner shipping would reach a capacity of about 100 million teus (20 ft equivalent units). 'By 2005, China will handle half the containers in and out of Asia,' he said. Mr Ralph told the sixth international symposium on liner shipping held last week in Hamburg that containerised export growth from the United States to Asia would grow by 27 per cent by 2000, from Europe by 34 per cent and by 32 per cent from Latin America. Over the same period, Asia's containerised export growth to the United States would increase by 24 per cent to about five million teus. Asia's throughput to Europe would rise by 15 per cent and to Latin America by 30 per cent, making a combined throughput of two million teus. Christoph Hinz, who represented Germany's Transport Minister Matthias Wissmann at the symposium, said he regretted that the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade had failed to include maritime services in the new General Agreement on Trade in Services, postponing the issue until 2000. He said every attempt should be made to include maritime services in the agreement as soon as possible. 'A multilateral instrument on freedom of maritime services, which includes an arbitration machinery, is the best guarantee against new outbreaks or protectionism and unilateralism,' he added. Mr Hinz said such an instrument would be highly effective.