Greater stability beckons as deal gives Afghanistan path to WTO

14 February 2014

Afghanistan – which has been involved in almost constant conflict for 30 years– is finally set to get a chance to stabilise, enhance its international contacts and reform its economy by joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO) after a deal signed on February 10.


The bilateral deal – signed by EU Ambassador Angelos Pangratis and Afghanistan’s deputy minister for trade, Mr Mozammil Shinwari – provides for lower tariffs and export duties for goods and for opening up services markets once Afghanistan joins the WTO.


These commitments will eventually be included in an official Protocol of Accession of Afghanistan to the WTO.


The EU is already one of Afghanistan’s main trading partners, accounting for almost nine per cent of its exports and 12 per cent of its imports. In 2012 the total value of EU goods exported to Afghanistan was €935m while imports from Afghanistan were €56m.


Afghanistan mainly supplies the EU with skins and leather products, fruits and nuts and electronic equipment, which, combined, represent more than 50 per cent of its EU exports. The main EU exports to Afghanistan are vehicles, mineral fuels, machinery and electrical equipment.


As Afghanistan – which has no railway system – counts as a Least Developed Country, all its mainstream products have duty and quota free access to the EU market.


Afghanistan’s accession to the WTO is expected to make a lasting contribution to the country’s stabilisation, economic reform and sustainable development.

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