Global trade in agricultural products has grown almost three-fold in value terms over the past decade with some regions increasing net exports and others increasing net imports. Considering the importance of food imports for food security and the role of exports in generating incomes, trade constitutes an essential component of most countries’ development strategies, including the post-Soviet countries.
Global trade in agricultural products is expected to continue to increase over the coming decades, with countries becoming more engaged in the trade. It is important to note the appropriateness of trade and related policies will differ across countries, depending on their level of agriculture sector development. Also, the range of possible policies that can be implemented follows the legal and institutional frameworks created by international trade agreements and frameworks such as the World Trade Organization (WTO). It is in this context that balancing the achievement of national policy objectives with the obligations under trade agreements to minimize any potentially negative effects of countries’ actions on their trading partners is vitally important. Recent changes in policies to regulate agrifood trade and to support agribusiness in relation with COVID-19 pandemic will be discussed at the course discussion forum.
Another significant characteristic of the international trade is that number of regional trade agreements (RTAs) has expanded, with the increased complexity in coverage and content. RTAs tend to establish deeper trade and economic integration provisions than multilateral agreements. Therefore, it is critical to understand how the agriculture is addressed in RTAs and what are similarities and differences from the WTO rules.
The objective of this course is to increase the participants' knowledge in order to:
- Better understand the international regulatory frameworks governing trade and its implementation mechanism as well as the eventual implications of the recent WTO Ministerial Conferences;
- Discuss the significance of non-tariff measures (NTMs) on the international trade and the relevance of WTO Agreements regarding such measures on the national trade policies;
- Learn about the main obligations on agriculture that the post-Soviet countries undertake upon accession to the WTO and within the framework of regional trade agreements.
The course is composed of three units, each of which comprise of two to three lessons. The first two Units are global in scope. The third Unit is a designed to cover key topics from the other two units, with a specific focus on the post-Soviet countries.
Unit 1. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Agriculture (AoA)
- Lesson 1.1. Agriculture in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the WTO AoA provisions on Market Access
- Lesson 1.2. The WTO AoA provisions on Domestic Support and Export Competition
- Lesson 1.3. The WTO AoA implementation and the Doha Round negotiations
Unit 2. Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) in agriculture and related WTO agreements
- Lesson 2.1. Introduction to NTMs in agriculture, the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures
- Lesson 2.2. The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement and other related agreements
Unit 3. Experience in implementing multilateral and regional trade agreements in post-Soviet countries
- Lesson 3.1. WTO Agreement on Agriculture: experiences in post-Soviet countries
- Lesson 3.2. Regional Trade Agreements of countries in the region
The course will be conducted in Russian language over a period of four weeks, organized in three units. 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), using training materials developed by FAO. 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 are integrated into the coursework.
This course is designed to assist professionals from ministries of agriculture, ministries of economy and other government and related authorities, who are directly involved in the formulation and implementation of trade or agricultural policies in the post-Soviet countries.
Participants from the private sector and academia can also benefit from the course.
Priority will be given to policy makers and practitioners who impact agricultural trade, and professionals who are able to convey information and provide technical advice to their constituencies.
For more information about the course, please contract with representatives from FAO and UNITAR:
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)