Markets and trade

Facilitating the understanding and adoption of WTO principles and commitments in agriculture in the CIS countries

The purpose of the project is to facilitate understanding and adoption of WTO principles and rules for agriculture and foster a dialogue on the implications of changes in trade policy to fulfill the accession commitments on the agricultural sector in the CIS countries. The project consists of analytical, capacity building and information sharing activities that aim to facilitate the implementation of WTO commitments in the agricultural sector. FAO, together with external partners, is providing specialized training (through workshops and an online course) on the Agreement on Agriculture, the rules of accession in the case of individual countries and other related WTO agreements and provisions, such as those related to SPS.

The main outcome of the project is enhanced understanding by governments in the CIS countries of the WTO rules and procedures for agriculture and greater awareness of the policy options that can maximize the benefits of trade for agriculture and food security. This, in turn, will help the authorities to make informed decisions with regard to trade negotiations and future agricultural policy developments that affect the agrarian structures in the CIS.

The expected outputs of the project are:

1. A comparative study on farm support in the CIS countries under the rules of the WTO and three country case studies (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan) with analyses of the current agricultural trade policies (with focus on instruments and measurement of domestic support to agriculture), the different scenarios for WTO accession and the possible implications of WTO membership for the agricultural sector, depending on each country’s situation and priorities.

2. Report "WTO rules concerning agriculture and agricultural development in Russia " with analysis of responses collected through questionnaires addressed to regional authorities, agricultural associations and producer organizations in Russia.

3. A regional training workshop to ensure understanding of the WTO Agreements, including the SPS Agreement, and discuss the obligations and main challenges facing the agricultural sector as the result of WTO accession: Kiev, Ukraine, 12-13 November 2013.

4. A national training workshop in Russia with focus on domestic support commitments in WTO accession, the experience of other countries in reforming agricultural policies and discussion of measures that would facilitate adaptation of Russian agriculture to the new trading rules: Belgorod, Russia, 20-21 November 2013.

5. An online course on WTO principles and rules for agriculture, the accession commitments assumed by the WTO member states among the CIS countries and the relationship between trade reforms, agricultural development and food security.

About FAO’s Agrarian Structures Initiative
The Programmatic Regional Initiative on Agrarian Structures for Europe and Central Asia is designed to redress some of the imbalances in a policy landscape that is profoundly unfriendly to smallholders in the region by integrating smallholders into value chains on the country level and into international markets. The initiative is aligned with FAO’s Strategic Objective 4: “Enable more inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems at local, national and international levels” and the regional priorities endorsed by FAO’s European Regional Conference in April 2012.

The expected outcomes of the initiative are to:
• Increase the inclusiveness of policies and public goods dealing with agrarian structures in Europe and Central Asia;
• Support international agreements in the region to promote inclusive and efficient markets for small farms.

The regional initiative will be implemented in selected countries during 2013. As a pilot programme, many of its interventions will lay the groundwork for further work to integrate smallholders into markets. The Agrarian Structures Initiative comprises six projects implemented in different areas in the region. The “WTO accession and implications for agriculture in CIS Region” project is one of the six projects.