Afghanistan Trade and Revenue Project (ATAR)

 

OVERVIEW
The Afghanistan Trade and Revenue Project (ATAR) is designed to support Afghanistan’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), increase Afghanistan’s international trade, and provide the government with support to improve its ability to generate revenue to replace donor assistance.  
 
ATAR will support Afghanistan by assisting in three areas:
 
1) Liberalized Trade Policies: improving the capacity of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) to formulate and implement a liberal policy framework for trade and investment in accordance with international standards, including WTO accession. Countries which have successfully implemented such policies associated with WTO accession have experienced a 20% increase in GDP over the subsequent five-year period.
 
2) Regional Trade: supporting bilateral and multilateral agreements with the Central Asian Republics, Pakistan, and India, including support for implementation of harmonized tariffs, simplified
border crossing procedures, and private sector linkages. Regional trade with these countries currently accounts for over 2/3 of Afghan exports. This effort will increase regional trade and improve Afghanistan's role in the growing "New Silk Road" trade routes.
 
3) Government Revenue Generation: supporting the introduction of a value-added tax (VAT) and tax collection as well as continued improvement in customs revenue collection, including the implementation of electronic payments, are expected to result in increases in the hundreds of millions dollars annually for GIRoA. Central Asian neighboring countries have experienced annual revenue gains ranging from 2% to 8% of GDP following introduction of a value-added tax (VAT).
 
PLANNED ACTIVITIES
ATAR will provide 1) technical assistance on trade agreements, WTO accession, and rules compliance; 2) support to the private sector by organizing regional trade fairs, supporting trade and transit services and private sector matchmaking events and training; and 3) capacity building for the implementation of reforms in customs, such as procedures modernization and streamlining so that traders spend less time and money in customs, and for VAT implementation and tax collection.
 
EXPECTED OUTCOMES
  • Accession to the WTO in 2014
  • Implementation and administration of legal and regulatory reforms required for WTO conformity
  • Signed and implemented trade and transit agreements with neighbors and trading partners 
  • Increased exports to neighboring countries 
  • Expedited cross-border transit
  • Customs collections increased and costs reduced 
  • Afghan Customs Academy established as primary training facility
  • Implementation of a VAT
  • Increased government revenue from VAT and Customs 
  • Increased public and private sector awareness of trade opportunities
 

Last updated: December 30, 2013

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