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International workshop Support of agriculture in the context of Russia's membership in the WTO


International workshop “Support of agriculture in the context of Russia's membership in the WTO”

The international workshop “Support of agriculture in the context of Russia's membership in the WTO: problems and possible solutions” took place in Belgorod on November, 20-21 . The workshop was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) , the Center for Customs Tariff and Non-tariff Regulation Research, OJSC Uralkali and the Department of Agroindustrial Complex of the Belgorod region.

The workshop was attended by both representatives of state agencies and the expert community :

  • Representatives of the Russian federal government agencies , including the Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation (FAS );
  • Employees of regional ministries and departments of agriculture ;
  • Analysts from industry expert organizations , including the Centre for Sustainable Development of Agroindustrial Complex;
  • Experts of research centers, including the Russian State Agrarian University – Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy;
  • Representatives of the companies that are major players in the Russian market ;
  • Experts from the WTO countries – the U.S. , Canada, Ireland, Chile, India and others.

At the opening of the seminar, participants were greeted by key speakers of the event: Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation Ilya Shestakov, head of the Department of Agroindustrial Complex Stanislav Aleynik, Deputy Head of the Product Section of the Trade Negotiations Department of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Viktor Batanin, economist of the FAO Trade and Markets Department Ekaterina Krivonos, economist of the WTO Agriculture and Commodities Committee Diwakar Dixit and Head of Government Relations of Uralkali Andrey Motovilov.

Ilya Shestakov, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, commented:

The WTO countries are still getting acquainted with Russia. The economic development of the Russian Federation in the coming years largely depends on the ability of the regions and the country as a whole to benefit from existing experience of foreign partners. This workshop is a great opportunity to directly ask the leading foreign experts the questions that concern both representatives of regional authorities and agricultural producers.

During the working session Professor William Foster (Catholic University, Chile) highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of various foreign models of fertilizer subsidies. Professor Sergey Lukin (Director of FSBI Agrochemical Centre Belgorodsky) made a presentation on the dynamics and effectiveness of fertilizers in the Central Black Earth Region of Russia.

Uralkali was represented by Director of the Indian office of Uralkali Trading Arvind Chawla who delivered a report on measures of agricultural support in the WTO through the example of mineral fertilizers. The expert gave a detailed description of the program of state subsidies for purchasing fertilizer in India and its impact on the growth of agricultural production.

According to the report of Mr. Chawla, in Indian agriculture in the 2000s there was a direct correlation between the increase in government subsidies for the purchase of chemicals and the yield growth of major crops, which is the main factor in ensuring food security of this densely populated country. In the last two years India, as a result of economic difficulties, was forced to cut budget financing for the purchase of fertilizers and revise state administration in this area. Given the shortage of funds, according to Arvind Chawla , the Indian authorities should pay more attention to efficiency in the allocation of subsidies for mineral fertilizers and encourage their balanced application.

During the two-day work of the seminar its participants also considered measures of adapting the Russian agricultural policy to the WTO; the regulatory system for agricultural issues in the WTO and Russia's obligations; the experience of foreign countries in changing the agrarian policy in accordance with the rules of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture; issues of state support of agroindustrial complex in the context of membership in the World trade Organization; possible solutions and next steps.

Summing up the seminar, General Director of the Center for Customs Tariff and Non-tariff Regulation Research Vyacheslav Evseyev noted that WTO rules are not only an instrument of restraint, but also a mechanism supporting the development of the economy in general and agriculture in particular. The main thing, according to Mr. Evseev, is to understand how to use it and develop a set of measures to support various areas of agroindustrial complex.

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