Prime Ministers Tiit Vahi of Estonia, Andris Skele of Latvia, and Mindaugas Stankevicius of Lithuania signed yesterday in Vilnius an agreement on free agricultural trade among their countries. The agreement lifts import and export duties and quantitative quotas on all farm and fish products certified to have been produced in one of the three countries. However, the agreement reportedly includes some fallback options for each country to protect its own producers if they are deemed threatened by "excessive" imports. The agreement is subject to ratification by the national parliaments–a process expected to last until fall. Some agrarian parties and interest groups have criticized the agreement and were able for a long time to stonewall it. (Western agencies, June 16) The three Baltic states have had a free trade agreement in force since 1994, but it did not cover agricultural products. Their governments envisage the possible creation of a Baltic free trade area after yesterday’s agreement is ratified and becomes operational.
Tajik Government Claims Military Advances, Ignores UN.