The Baltic Free Trade Agreement in Agriculture: Issues and Potential Impacts

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1997-08-01
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Kazlauskiene, Natalija
Meyers, William
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Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) conducts innovative public policy and economic research on agricultural, environmental, and food issues. CARD uniquely combines academic excellence with engagement and anticipatory thinking to inform and benefit society.

CARD researchers develop and apply economic theory, quantitative methods, and interdisciplinary approaches to create relevant knowledge. Communication efforts target state and federal policymakers; the research community; agricultural, food, and environmental groups; individual decision-makers; and international audiences.

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The Baltic Free Trade Agreement (BFTA) was signed in 1993, took effect on April 1, 1994, and is intended to be the first step in the formation of a customs union. However, agricultural products (agriculture, food industry, and fisheries) were excluded from the initial text, which provided that a separate agreement covering the missing trade areas would be worked out. The process of reaching this agreement was a long and difficult one, and policy asymmetry was a major obstacle throughout the negotiations, since Estonia had no import tariffs and the other countries had tariffs ranging from 20 to 60 percent. Finally, in May 1996 leaders of the three countries personally agreed that they would accept free trade for all products of the three countries meeting a domestic rules of origin requirement. The governments of the three countries promptly worked out the specifics of an agreement, which was signed in June 1996. By October 4, 1996, the Parliaments of all three countries had ratified the agreement, and it became law on January 1, 1997.

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Wed Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 1997
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