Economic Theory & Research; Emerging Markets; Free Trade; Trade Policy; Trade Law
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Summary: Agriculture including food products is of particular interest for Ukraine. However, in free trade agreements involving the European Union, agriculture is always given special treatment and subject to less and slower liberalization than other sectors. This paper employs the standard Global Trade Analysis Project model in order to assess how World Trade Organization accession affects agriculture in Ukraine, and how potential bilateral tariff cuts may interact with potential productivity gains within Ukrainian agriculture. The results indicate that, due to trade liberalization, Ukraine can expect gains from a more efficient allocation of its resources in line with comparative advantage, leading to an increase of production and exports of wheat, other grains, and oilseeds, but also of several processed food products that benefit from less expensive intermediate inputs. However, Ukraine's exports are concentrated on a small number of destinations, especially Russia and some other Former Soviet Union countries because they fail to meet quality standards elsewhere. When Ukrainian production of these products increases due to increased allocative efficiency, exports to Russia increase further and prices there fall, generating negative terms of trade effects that largely offset the allocative gains. Ukrainian imports of agricultural products increase as well, partly because Ukrainian consumers switch to higher quality imported goods even though domestic production increases. Regarding free trade agreement negotiations with the European Union, these results highlight for Ukraine the fact that improved agricultural productivity will help to get most out of improved market access. However, the results also highlight for Ukraine the great importance of adopting internationally accepted quality standards in order to diversify its export structure.
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