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.
Trade ministers unanimously welcomed Afghanistan’s WTO membership deal, which was approved at a ceremony attended by Mr Mohammad Khan Rahmani of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Director-General Roberto Azevêdo.
The Protocol of Accession was officially signed by DG Azevêdo and Mr Mohammad Khan Rahmani at the end of the ceremony.
Afghanistan will have until 30 June 2016 to ratify the deal and would become a full-fledged WTO member 30 days after it notifies the acceptance of its Protocol of Accession to the WTO Director-General. Afghanistan would become the ninth least-developed country to become a WTO member since the organization was established in 1995.
In his address to ministers, DG Azevêdo paid special tribute to the government of Afghanistan for “this historic achievement” and for having undertaken an “extensive programme of domestic reforms to accelerate economic growth despite very challenging circumstances”. He said: “Afghanistan’s WTO accession is a clear sign for all the world to see that the country is building a business-friendly environment. I am confident that WTO membership will contribute to establishing a firm foundation for Afghanistan’s future development and prosperity.” His full speech is here.
Mr Mohammad Khan Rahmani said: “Today is a historic day for the people of Afghanistan who have embraced democratic values and market economy principles. Our WTO membership will cement our long-standing commitment to an open economy, transparency, rule of law, good governance, non-discrimination, and market instruments for the development of our economy and private sector, and for the alleviation of poverty. Trade-led growth will create new economic opportunities and jobs, especially for women; it will reduce poverty, and increase prosperity. It will certainly contribute in a major way to dramatically reduce extremism and achieve regional peace and security.” His full speech is here.
H.E. Roderick van Schreven (The Netherlands), Working Party Chairperson for the Accession of Afghanistan, paid tribute to WTO members and to the Government of Afghanistan for the “high quality Accession Package, which will make a significant contribution to improving market access opportunities and strengthening the WTO. The Package also provides Afghanistan with a platform for a long-term agenda for domestic reforms for welfare and for enhancing growth. This is a historical step for Afghanistan and for the WTO and it underlines the importance of this growing organization.” His full speech is here.
Afghanistan applied for WTO membership in 2004 and members of the Working Party concluded the negotiations on 11 November 2015.
The list of Afghanistan’s commitments is available here.
Learn more about Afghanistan’s WTO accession negotiations here.
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