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Issue paper

Countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States: Agricultural Policy Issues in the Context of the World Trade Organization

With the disintegration of the Soviet Union 15 new countries entered the world stage. The CIS countries are very different in size, economic structure and agricultural profile. The same is true even for the smaller group of seven CIS countries that are members of the World Trade Organization (WTO). By late 2013 seven of the twelve non-Baltic ex-Soviet countries had acceded to the WTO: Armenia, Georgia, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Tajikistan. Four others were in the process of WTO accession: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Turkmenistan had started to prepare for an eventual accession process. 

This publication examines the experience and main issues of twelve of these countries in the context of the rules and commitments in agriculture under the World Trade Organization (WTO). Three main areas under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture are examined: Market access, domestic support and export subsidies, with special focus on issues in fulfilling domestic support obligations in the member countries. The report also touches on export restrictions in agriculture. It summarizes the scrutiny in the Committee on Agriculture of the CIS countries’ notifications and other issues raised in the Committee and introduces the WTO disputes involving CIS countries and agriculture. Finally, it offers some policy recommendations and outlines lessons learned for the accessions still underway.

Europe & Central Asia