The Government of Afghanistan has launched a new initiative to spur growth and create jobs by boosting the export capacities of the countryís private sector, to trade with regional and global markets.
Afghanistanís Minister of Industry and Commerce Ajmal Ahmady said: ‘This national trade policy takes centre stage in transforming the direction of the economyís productive sectors toward producing and exporting high value-added products so that the countryís full export potential can be realized. The policy document outlines the key principles and strategies that will guide the Afghanistanís strategic integration into global markets.í
The Government anticipates that the ANTP will support the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework - the countryís 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 countryís 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 freeí basis, is proud to be associated to this initiative.í
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 Afghanistanís trade activities and fostering an environment where entrepreneurship can thrive.í
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 Afghanistanís export to the global markets. We thank the European Union for supporting this initiative.í
Afghanistan acceded to the World Trade Organization in July 2016, after which it immediately moved to ratify the global trade bodyís Trade Facilitation Agreement.