Afghanistan launches National Trade Policy
(Kabul/Geneva) – The Government of Afghanistan has launched a new initiative to spur growth and create jobs by boosting the export capacities of the country’s private sector, to trade with regional and global markets.
Afghanistan’s Minister of Industry and Commerce Ajmal Ahmady said: ‘This national trade policy takes centre stage in transforming the direction of the economy’s productive sectors toward producing and exporting high value-added products so that the country’s full export potential can be realized. The policy document outlines the key principles and strategies that will guide the Afghanistan’s strategic integration into global markets.’
The Government anticipates that the ANTP will support the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework – the country’s overarching policy strategy – and implementation of its WTO commitments, National Export Strategy, National Priority Programme on Private Sector Development, and national export targets.
Speakers at the launch in Kabul on 11 February also made clear that the ANTP benefits from clear action-orientated recommendations that support attaining six specific objectives:
• increasing the export competitiveness of Afghan products
• promoting domestic production and trade
• enhancing the tariff policy
• reducing the time and cost of trading across borders
• promoting market access for Afghan goods and services
• increasing the effectiveness of trade-enhancing institutions
The event followed a cabinet meeting chaired by President Ashraf Ghani at which the Government formally endorsed the ANTP.
European Union Ambassador Pierre Mayaudon said: ‘The ANTP comes at an opportune time as Afghanistan seeks to boost economic growth and strengthen the productive base of its economy. Improving the country’s trade performance will be crucial to driving wider and more sustainable economic growth. The EU, which opens its single market of 500 million consumers to Afghan products on a ‘duty free and quota free’ basis, is proud to be associated to this initiative.’
ITC acting Executive Director Dorothy Tembo said: ‘Afghanistan is a priority country for ITC support and we will continue to partner with the Government and the business community to build the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises in the economy. This national trade policy is an essential tool for developing Afghanistan’s trade activities and fostering an environment where entrepreneurship can thrive.’
Mr. Khanjan Alkozay, Board Member, Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment and Chairman Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce added: ‘The ANTP is an important policy document that was developed in consultation with the private sector. The policy highlights key constraints faced by traders and proposes clear recommendations to address them. We believe the implementation of this policy would positively impact domestic production and increase Afghanistan’s export to the global markets. We thank the European Union for supporting this initiative.’
The launch of the first Afghanistan National Trade Policy (ANTP) marks a milestone event for Afghanistan's economy. It is the result of a comprehensive design process, led by the International Trade Centre (ITC) with input from public and private stakeholders, intended to capitalize on the access to international markets enabled by Afghanistan’s July 2016 accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Notes for the Editor
Background The EU-funded Advancing Afghan Trade project is implemented by ITC under the leadership of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries. It is a response to the Afghan government’s ongoing efforts to use trade as a driver of economic growth, regional cooperation and stability.
Afghanistan acceded to the World Trade Organization in July 2016, after which it immediately moved to ratify the global trade body’s Trade Facilitation Agreement.
To ensure sustainability, local ownership and long-term impact of the project, ITC will be working with a range of partners from the private sector, academia and civil society organizations based in Afghanistan.
For further information about the Advancing Afghan Trade project, visit: www.intracen.org/AAT
About ITC - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
For more information, visit www.intracen.org. Follow ITC on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram
International Trade Centre
Jarle Hetland, Media Officer
P: + 41 22 730 0145
M: + 41 79 582 9180
E: hetland [at] intracen.org
Please see the link to the Dari version