WTO members commended Afghanistan on its progress toward accession.
2 MARCH 2013 | GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
Afghanistan took another major step toward membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) with the pre-eminent organization placing the country on its priority list for early accession.
An Afghan delegation of 16 officials, headed by Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industries Mozammil Shinwari, participated in Afghanistan’s third Working Party meeting on Dec. 7 at WTO headquarters in Geneva. A Working Party allows WTO members and Afghanistan to discuss progress in reforms to conform to WTO agreements and principles.
During the meeting, WTO members said they are prioritizing Afghanistan’s membership. They commended the Afghan government on the quality of its WTO documents as well as progress in legal reforms that will align the country with WTO standards.
The meeting capped off a year of rapid progress for Afghanistan. In 2012, Afghanistan submitted its market access offer on goods and services – a critical and complex component of accession. The offer details the tariffs Afghanistan plans to place on imported goods, such as agricultural items, and conditions the country will place on imported services, such as banking.
With the offer as a starting point, Afghanistan conducted bilateral negotiations with Canada, the European Union, Japan, Norway and the United States on the meeting’s sidelines. The countries made progress on agreeing on market access terms, but more negotiations will be needed to complete the process.
“Our momentum toward WTO membership keeps growing and growing,” said Deputy Minister Shinwari. “We are committed to becoming a member of the WTO and formally being a part of the global trading community. WTO accession will help us grow our economy, encourage investment and build trade relations with other nations.”
Afghanistan may have its next Working Party meeting in the first half of 2013. Meanwhile, with USAID support, Afghanistan will continue major reforms as part of the accession process.
Last updated: May 15, 2014