WTO Accession and Implications for Agriculture in CIS Countries for Countries

24 February to 29 March 2014

About the Course

Course Background


The majority of the CIS countries have been actively pursuing WTO accession after becoming independent states. Six CIS countries (Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine and Tajikistan) and Georgia are now members. The accession of Russia in August 2012, the biggest market in the region, may also act as a catalyst for the WTO accession among the remaining countries in the region. The accession to WTO by itself does not guarantee more effective participation in global agricultural trade or benefits to consumers or agricultural producers. The appropriate mainstreaming of trade policy into the overall agricultural development strategy can help to maximize the benefits of trade expansion and minimize the possible negative effects on producers engaged in less competitive sectors, but it requires an informed and weighted approach in the post-accession period, both by the authorities and the private sector. Understanding and applying the provisions of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, the SPS Agreement and other WTO accords is the first step towards the implementation. 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.

About the FAO Project

About FAO project “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. A study "WTO rules concerning agriculture and agricultural development in Russia" jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia based on data collected through questionnaires addressed to authorities of the 83 federal subjects of the Russian Federation and 170 agricultural associations and organizations. The study aims at identifying the possible pathways for development of agricultural policy of the Russian Federation in the context of WTO accession and the needs of the agricultural sector stakeholders in information and analysis on WTO rules and regulations concerning agriculture.
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.
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.
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 work on agricultural trade

The relationship between trade and food security has been a topic of long-standing debate.
FAO supports countries’ effective engagement in the formulation of trade agreements that are conducive to improved food security by strengthening evidence on the implications of changes in trade policies, providing capacity development in the use of this evidence, and facilitating neutral dialogue away from the negotiating table.
FAO also supports countries in the design and implementation of trade policies supportive to enhanced food security.
For more information, please visit http://www.fao.org/trade/en/

Online links and Resources:

• FAO Trade:

• FAO Trade and Markets Division:

• FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia:

• World Trade Organization:

• WTO agreements in Russian:

• Regional Training Workshop for CIS countries: WTO accession and agricultural policy, 12 – 13 November 2013, Kiev, Ukraine

• Support to Russian agriculture in the context of WTO membership: Issues and possible solutions, 20 Nov 2013 - 21 Nov 2013, Belgorod, Russia:

• FAO workshop “WTO commitments and support to Russian agriculture: issues and possible solutions”, Kazan, 30-31 January 2013:
Relevant publications:

• FAO Trade Policy Technical Notes:

• Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (2000). Multilateral Trade Negotiations on Agriculture: A Resource Manual. Rome: Author.

• The Breakdown of the Doha Round Negotiations What Does it Mean for Dealing with Soaring Food Prices? Policy brief 3

• Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (2003). Agricultural Commodities: Profiles and Relevant WTO Negotiating Issues. Rome: Author. http://www.fao.org/docrep/006/Y4343E/Y4343E00.HTM

• Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (2003). Trade Reforms and Food Security: Conceptualizing the Linkages. Rome: Author. http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/y4671e/y4671e00.htm

• Morrison, J. & Sarris, A. (Eds.). (2007). WTO Rules for Agriculture Compatible with Development. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.