“Afghanistan is fully committed to officially integrating into the multilateral trading system. Afghanistan always had a rich history of trade and WTO accession will allow the country to build on that”
Mozammil Shinwari, Deputy Trade Minister
Much of the world already belongs to the WTO. Afghanistan, outlined in pink on the map, is well on its way to joining the global economy.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) has expressed support for fast-track accession for Afghanistan, prompting hopes that it is on course to join the 155-member body by 2014. This has been a key goal for Afghanistan from early 2010 and USAID’s Trade and Accession Facilitation for Afghanistan project has been assisting with its systematic integration into the multilateral trading system.
In mid-June, about 20 WTO members including China, the European Union, the United States, India and Pakistan, told a delegation led by Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister of Trade Mozammil Shinwari that they were impressed by the country’s progress in implementing trade reforms.
Afghanistan has already submitted the so-called factual summary, a crucial document that consolidates trade information, including points of agreement and those awaiting clarification. The WTO acknowledges that Afghanistan has been quicker off the mark than most applicant countries and has provided all the relevant information. The Afghan government also trumped the target for submission of its initial market access offer on specific services such as banking, submitting the complex document in June, a year ahead of schedule.
Mr Shinwari acknowledged that WTO accession was “a very lengthy and complicated process but Afghanistan is getting closer and closer to becoming a member because it is fully committed to officially integrating into the multilateral trading system.”
On the sidelines of the multilateral meeting at WTO headquarters in Geneva, Afghanistan held its first WTO bilateral meeting with the United States, focusing on trade in services.
The next WTO meeting on Afghanistan’s accession is tentatively scheduled for December 2012.
Afghanistan on Trade Fast Track