THIS NEWS STORY is designed to help the public understand developments in the WTO. While every effort has been made to ensure the contents are accurate, it does not prejudice member governments’ positions.
Members thoroughly examined Afghanistan’s current trade regime. They also reviewed the latest reforms undertaken by Afghanistan to advance its accession to the WTO and to bring its trade regime in line with WTO rules.
Members examined Afghanistan’s trade regime, its trade-related reforms and assessed their conformity with WTO rules. They requested more information on Afghanistan’s trade-related legislation regarding state trading enterprises, privatisation, pricing policies, import licensing, customs valuation, export regulations, export subsidies, agricultural policy, intellectual property, technical barriers to trade and transparency.
They also urged Afghanistan to submit its first offer on market access for goods in order to start the negotiations on trade opening. Afghanistan already submitted its offer on services in early June 2012.
Afghanistan’s Deputy-Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mozammil Shinwari, said that WTO accession was a national priority and an integral part of his country’s efforts to become a trade and transit hub. He believed that open trade policy and the creation of a sound business environment were essential for attaining sustainable economic growth, alleviating poverty and achieving stability. He added that Afghanistan was seeking WTO accession as an LDC. He asked WTO members to take Afghanistan’s development needs into special consideration, in particular those related to its infant industries.The Chairperson of the Working Party, Ambassador Roderick van Schreven (Netherlands), mentioned that Afghanistan had considerable work ahead as adherence to WTO rules required domestic reforms as well as putting in place the necessary enforcement infrastructure. He urged members to continue providing technical assistance to Afghanistan and to step up this support. Ambassador van Schreven requested the WTO Secretariat to prepare an “Elements of the Draft Working Party Report” containing information on the reforms undertaken by Afghanistan to bring its trade regime in line with WTO rules. This evolving document will serve as a basis for the accession talks.
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