On August 22, Russia officially joined the WTO, which was the logical conclusion of an 18-year process of difficult negotiations on joining this organization. Along with the undoubted advantages for consumers, the country's membership in the World Trade Organization may prove to be a serious test for a number of sectors of the country's economy, in particular for agriculture.
Russia's accession to the WTO will affect the country's economy ambiguously. In general, this is an undoubted plus, especially for the consumer - goods will become cheaper and of better quality, since many import duties will be canceled, and competition among manufacturers will increase. Russian companies will have free access to the foreign market without discriminatory duties. At the same time, for a number of sectors of the economy, this event will be a severe blow. Agriculture is one of these industries.
It has been known for a long time that Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization will negatively affect the agro-industrial complex. Under the terms of accession to the WTO, support for agriculture should not exceed a certain level. But this level is determined through negotiations, there is no single standard for all countries.
Russia failed to achieve a positive result in this matter. If until 2012 the government could allocate about $ 9 billion a year to support the agro-industrial complex, then from 2013 to 2017 this amount will fall to 4.4 billion. The same Switzerland, for example, whose arable land is incomparably less than in Russia, can spend up to $ 5.8 billion to support its agricultural producers. The USA can allocate 19 billion dollars for this purpose. All this deliberately puts Russian agricultural producers in unfavorable conditions.
After joining the WTO, a number of import duties on agricultural products were canceled, which will lead to a decrease in prices for a number of products. The consumer will like it, but Russian agricultural producers will receive tens of billions of dollars in losses. In particular, meat and milk producers are in a disadvantageous situation, poultry farming will suffer a little less. On the whole, Russia's admission to the World Trade Organization will be a very difficult test for the country's agriculture.
It should be noted that in the negotiations on accession to the WTO, Western countries were especially adamant about the issue of state support for Russian agriculture. They can be understood: given the vastness of Russia, with good help from the state, its agricultural sector could overwhelm European countries with cheap and high-quality agricultural products. The Western negotiators could not agree to this, in the end they managed to defend their positions.
Now Russian agricultural producers need to learn to function in the new environment, while the government will have to work with indirect ways to support agricultural producers. Namely: with the training of personnel for the agricultural sector, the introduction of insurance programs, the implementation of phytosanitary and veterinary measures, the improvement of infrastructure in the countryside, etc. Some experts believe that even in the new conditions, Russia has every chance of making its agriculture profitable and competitive.