Officials at the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoCI)have announced that preparations for Afghanistan to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) are in the final stages and that in the next three months Afghanistan will become a member.
According MoCI officials, after already signing a trade agreement with the U.S., Afghanistan needs only to sign trade deals with the European Union (EU) and two other countries, expected to be peened in the next 15 days, before it can be admitted into the WTO.
Out of eight negotiating members of World Trade Organization, Afghanistan needs must sign bilateral trade agreements with the EU, Turkey and Taiwan. But according to officials, U.S. support is critical to gaining membership to the WTO.
“This is a very good day, we are very pleased that we have come to an agreement and we look forward to the day when Afghanistan can sit at the table in Geneva as a full member…” said Mara Burr, the Deputy Assistant United States Trade Representative for South and Central Asian Affairs.”
The MoCI was very positive about the deal with the U.S., which marks a rare point of accord between the two countries which have been at loggerheads over a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) that outlines U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan post-2014.
“The signing of this agreement with the U.S. takes us closer to joining the WTO,” Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industries Muzamel Shinwari said. “We had discussions with eight countries, now we have to work for approval of this law, and with that, we will have membership to the WTO in the next three months.”
As a member of the WTO, trade and investment with Afghanistan is expected increase.
But economic analysts have maintained that the yield of membership in the WTO will ultimately come down to the economic management of the government and the quality improvement of Afghan products.
“Our membership in the WTO is very important, but this relates to government officials, on how they can use the opportunity for producing according to international standards and quality goods,” Kabul University economist Hameedullah Farooqi told TOLOnews.
The WTO has 160 members, including regional players such as Pakistan, India and Tajikistan.