Resolving Agricultural Trade Issues through International and Regional Trade-related Agreements in the CIS Region

4 - 29 April 2016

Registration is open

Resolving Agricultural Trade Issues through International and Regional Trade-related Agreements in the CIS Region, 4 – 29 June 2016

Course background

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.

 

About FAO Regional Initiative on Agrifood Trade and Market Integration in Europe and Central Asia

Agricultural systems in Europe and Central Asia are still affected by the process of political and economic transition that has coincided with globalization and deepening regional and global trade integration.

The purpose of the Regional Initiative on Agri-Food Trade and Regional Integration is to increase regional and national capacities to deal effectively with the challenges posed by greater trade integration. It does this by developing better evidence on trade implications, improving the capacity of countries to use this evidence, facilitating neutral fora and dialogues on trade agreements, and supporting the design and implementation of appropriate policies at country level.

The Regional Initiative has three main components:

  1. Food safety

  2. Trade agreements

  3. Wheat trade for food security

 

FAO's role in trade

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.

 

Online links and resources:

 

Relevant publications: