Markets and trade

Regional Training Workshop for CIS countries: WTO accession and agricultural policy

12 – 13 November 2013, Kiev, Ukraine

The majority of the CIS countries have been actively pursuing WTO accession after becoming independent states. Six CIS states (Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine and Tajikistan) as well as Georgia, are now WTO members.

Russia’s accession to the WTO, the biggest market in the region, brought into focus the potential implications of trade liberalization on agriculture and food systems not only for Russia but also in other countries in the region which trade extensively with Russia and may also act as a catalyst for the WTO accession among the remaining countries. The accession to WTO by itself does not guarantee that the CIS countries will participate more effectively in global agricultural trade. The appropriate mainstreaming of trade policy into the overall agricultural development strategy can help to maximize the benefits of more open trade in agricultural and food products and minimize the negative effects on producers engaged in less competitive sectors. Understanding and applying the provisions of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and other relevant agreements is the first step in the transition to the new trading rules. But taking advantage of the opportunities that WTO membership provides also requires updating regulatory frameworks where necessary and adopting accompanying measures to improve the overall competitiveness of the agricultural sector.  The training workshop will facilitate a greater understanding and implementation of the multilateral trading rules for agriculture as well as the agricultural trade commitments assumed by the CIS countries in the context of the WTO accession. It is also intended to foster a discussion on options for trade-related reforms and support measures that would allow the countries to take greater advantage of the WTO membership for the benefit of agricultural development and food security.