Farmers challenged by WTO accession

AFP Photo / Michail Mordasov
Russia has agreed to lower its agricultural tariffs as part of the agreement to join the WTO.

­Overall, the tariffs will be reduced by just 3% but timber, wood, grain and milk will be hit by a decrease of over 5%. This may harm Russian farmers who will now have less protection from foreign competitors. But their troubles don’t end there: the Russian government is also expected to decrease its subsidies to the agricultural sector by over 50%.Russia’s total annual subsidies to its agriculture are expected to go down to 4.8 billion dollars by 2018 – less than a third France gives its farmers. Analysts say the step is a double-edged sword: Russian market will get flooded with foreign goods forcing Russian producers to either lower prices or improve quality to compete. Now that the Protocol on Russia’s accession to the WTO has been approved the country is set to join the organization in December.