The WTO adopted the Declaration on the elimination of subsidies in agriculture

Moscow. December 20. Five days of the WTO Ministerial conference and did not answer the question about the future of the negotiation track of the WTO, but was made first beneficial for Russia from a practical point of view, the decision to abolish export subsidies in agriculture.

In the final Declaration adopted Tuesday at the Ministerial conference of the WTO, it is noted that from today, prohibits the use of export subsidies in agriculture.

“The WTO decision on export competition in agriculture provides for a complete ban on the provision of export subsidies from today, with a few exceptions”, – told reporters Director of the Department of trade negotiations Ministry of economic development Maxim Medvedkov at the end of the conference.

“But there are exceptions – those countries that over the past three years did not provide subsidies, they more provide not. Countries that now provide subsidies, they will continue to provide, but with a time limit – for developed countries – until the end of 2022, for emerging economies – before the end of 2023, the least developed countries – until the end of 2030”, – said Medvedkov essence of the Declaration.

“This is the first conference, the results of which bring real advantages for one of the most important sectors of the Russian economy – agriculture, ensuring the stability and predictability of the domestic and world market of agricultural products”,” – stressed the representative of the Ministry of economic development, Recalling that Russia has not applied export subsidies in the agricultural sector and to the commitments accepted when joining this organization, had no right to apply them, which would put Russian producers in unequal conditions with competitors from other countries.

Thus Medvedkov noted that for the first time in the history of trade organization Declaration on the results of the Ministerial conference notes that opinions about the future of the negotiation process in the WTO are divided.

“For the first time in the history of WTO and GATT, opinion was divided, and this is reflected in the Declaration. Still was not Ministerial declarations, where some said one thing, and some another. Now some people say that the Doha mandate should be confirmed, others that should not be confirmed. This idea laid down as the continuing controversy”, he said

According to him, “again for the first time the country has acknowledged in this document that there is a serious contradiction in their development, so in the coming months this will lead to a very lively debate about what to do next”.

“From our point of view, this is positive, because any discussion will end sooner or later, the General opinion and it will only spur future negotiations,” he added.

“This suggests that the WTO will engage in identifying the points where may be found the common positions and agreement on further progress”, – said Medvedkov.

However, he stressed that the Declaration stipulates that “the WTO remains the principal forum for negotiating multilateral trade rules.”

“The centrality of the multilateral trading system does not preclude the development of regional integration agreements, but regional trade agreements do not replace the multilateral system, but complement it,” he said, quoting the text of the Declaration.

“For us it is absolutely important thing, was talking about the leadership of our country. Because we had concerns after there was a TRANS-Pacific partnership, negotiations are underway the US and the EU (Transatlantic partnership) that appeared parallel system of agreements that will affect our interests. As a result, the Ministers of all countries, including those countries that have signed agreements and will enter into in the future, acknowledged that they (regional agreements) should be subordinated to WTO rules”, – emphasized the importance of this item Medvedkov

In addition, according to him, the Declaration stipulates that recognized “the special situation of those countries that recently joined the WTO (since 1994)”. “These countries have made in gathering their accession a serious commitment and this should be taken into account during further negotiations. This will give us the opportunity to exchange that status for some concessions from other countries”, – he explained the benefits for Russia of this section of the Declaration.

Another important theme for Russia, according to Medvedkov was the item that “will be taken additional measures to strengthen the system of trade dispute resolution, and that this system will be the unique mechanism to understand the trade conflict in world trade”. “There are problems, sometimes they are related to inaccuracy of the rules, sometimes that’s just physically not enough referees. We now have one case that is not, because there is simply no arbitrators”, – said the representative of the Ministry of economic development.

The Declaration also has a special section, which concerns state trading enterprises in agriculture. “The Ministers agreed that in respect of these enterprises will be fully applied to existing WTO rules. Still in relation to such enterprises under the WTO rules were not applied in full and in agriculture were “grey areas” from the point of view of WTO rules,” – said Medvedkov.

The important point of the Declaration, he said, is a paragraph on the rules of international food aid, “which aimed at approaching conditions that aid to market”. “This means that help course free of charge or with significant discount, but this assistance should not interfere with local market, should not compete with this market, that is, it should not be introduced into the market to bring down prices. And of course it is impossible to export such assistance,” – he explained the essence of this paragraph.

Medvedkov also said that Russia’s proposals on transparency of anti-dumping investigations were not included in the final Declaration. “It did not make it to the final package, because the contradictions were many, and we consciously decided not to insist in order to receive a passing package. We spring the proposal will promote through other channels, we were supported by the vast majority of countries with this proposal”, – he explained the logic of actions of the Russian delegation on this issue. As reported, Russia has proposed to upgrade anti-dumping rules so that all participants of anti-dumping investigations have equal access to basic information.

Summing up the results of the Ministerial conference, Medvedkov stressed that “the decision to abolish export subsidies in agriculture was historic, because the negotiation lasted twenty years.”

“Our farmers have always said that export subsidies in other countries, mainly manufacturers of dairy products, some meats and grains not only prevent them in foreign markets, but also on the inside too. Now the conditions for competition would be justified”, he concluded.