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Afghanistan Launches National Trade Policy

in Afghan Business

Afghanistan Launches National Trade Policy

The Afghan government has launched the Afghanistan National Trade Policy (ANTP)–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 center 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 Program on Private Sector Development, and national export targets.

The ANTP will help attain the following six 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.

“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,” said European Union Ambassador Pierre Mayaudon.

Meanwhile, the acting Executive Director for the International Trade Center (ITC), Dorothy Tembo said called the national trade policy an essential tool for developing Afghanistan’s trade activities and fostering an environment where entrepreneurship can thrive.

The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment believe the ANTP will boost Afghanistan’s exports and addresses some of the key issues that Afghan traders are currently facing.

“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,” said Khanjan Alkozay, Board Member, Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment and Chairman Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce.

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.

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