[This course is offered in Russian only. This is a rerun of the first course that concluded in June 2015 and for which the demand exceeded the number of available places.]
As the countries in the post-Soviet region become increasingly more engaged in international trade through membership in the WTO or other trade agreements, proper implementation of trade rules turn out to be vitally important in ensuring transparency and predictability of trade flows.
For example, the WTO provides a set of principles and rules that help to ensure that domestic regulation, including sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, are not used as hidden barriers to trade. At the same time, the WTO recognizes that each country has the right to establish measures necessary to ensure food safety and protect animal and plant health. Occasionally, countries disagree about the specific policies or measures applied by their trading partners and have to find a way to resolve their differences. FAO is home to the Secretariats of two of the three standard setting bodies mentioned in the WTO SPS Agreement: The Codex Alimentarius and the International Plant Protection Convention. These bodies are sources of internationally agreed standards, best practices and guidelines in the areas of food safety and plant protection. The standards and recommendations developed by these organizations help the countries to avoid trade disagreements related to the application of SPS measures, which can prompt trading partners to seek litigation to defend their trade interests.
When disagreements in the application of trade rules arise, governments have several options at their disposal, including bilateral discussions and consultations with their trading partners. Understanding the rules and procedures of the different mediation and dispute settlement tools available under the various trade agreements in the region is an important step to enhance stability and predictability of international trade. Taking advantage of the breadth of mechanisms available requires obtaining relevant information and analysis, a strong teamwork across government agencies to design a course of action that would quickly resolve trade issues and an open dialogue between the trading partners involved.
This course aims to equip participants with a better understanding of the rules and procedures to address and resolve trade issues and concerns for agricultural products under the various trade and trade-related agreements (WTO agreements, CIS agreements and Eurasian Economic Union). It seeks to raise awareness of the different binding and non-binding mediation and dispute settlement tools and practical guidelines to identify options and design the necessary actions to ensure proper application of the trade rules affecting imports and exports of agricultural and food products. In particular, the course provides guidance on how to address trade issues specific to sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures.
By the end of the course, participants will be better able to:
- Understand what can be done at the national level to minimize the occurrence of trade disagreements related to SPS measures;
- Identify the type of trade problem and the appropriate course of action to resolve it, including consultations and mediation;
- Assess whether dispute settlement procedures should be followed and determine what internal preparatory work across government agencies should be conducted in order to obtain information and evidence needed for building a case.
The course is composed of three modules:
- Mediation and other options for resolving trade issues, with focus on those related to SPS measures
- WTO dispute settlement system and practical aspects
- Dispute settlement in the CIS and Eurasian Economic Union.
The course will be conducted in Russian over a period of four weeks, organized in three modules. The course will be delivered via the e-learning platform developed by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR, http://www.unitar.org). This pedagogical tool will help participants meet the course’s learning objectives through a self-paced study routine with optional and required readings, case study exercises, discussion forums and assessment quizzes. The course will be facilitated and mentored by international experts who have a wealth of practical experience to ensure that real-world examples which facilitate experiential learning are integrated into the coursework.
This course is designed to assist representatives from Ministries of Agriculture, Ministries of Economy and Trade, sanitary and phytosanitary authorities as well as other authorities directly involved in addressing and resolving trade concerns related to agriculture in the CIS countries. Private sector participants and researchers with interest in agricultural trade are also encouraged to apply.
Priority will be given to public sector officials with responsibility for agricultural trade and professionals who are able to convey information and provide technical advice to their constituencies (trainers, professional staff of producer organizations, extension officers etc.).
This course is offered free of charge as part of FAO’s Regional Initiative on Agri-Food Trade and Regional Integration in Europe and Central Asia. The course will be conducted in Russian language only. Limited slots are available and will be subject to a selection process conducted by FAO, taking into account in particular, the geographical distribution and gender balance. In order to receive the final confirmation of selection, participants would be requested to obtain permission to participate in the course from their direct supervisor.
In the preparation of this course FAO draws from its extensive experience with providing guidance, capacity building and technical advice to its member countries on agricultural trade policy and multilateral trade negotiations, as well its normative work on the SPS issues.
A certificate of completion will be issued to participants who successfully complete all course-related assignments and assessments.
For more information about the course, please contact
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)