Afghanistan’s Accession: Challenged by Conflict

WTO membership has long been an integral part of the overall strategic objectives of Afghanistan. For a post-conflict, landlocked and least-developed economy, joining the WTO was perceived as an opportunity to achieve economic stability, improve regional security and cooperation, alleviate poverty and achieve peace. Afghanistan has been on an eleven-year journey to integrate into the multilateral trading system. Its WTO accession process, described in this chapter, was a learning experience in which Afghanistan’s governmental and academic institutions, private sector and civil society all upgraded their capacity, using this accession as a catalyst to accelerate structural reforms and strengthen market instruments. The enormous reforms accomplished in this process have allowed Afghanistan to build a more favourable trade and investment regime, with effective laws and trade policies based on the WTO agreements. This chapter sheds light on the accession process and the accomplished domestic transformation and identifies ways forward to maximize the benefits of Afghanistan’s WTO membership as a tool for cementing its long-standing commitment to an open economy, rule of law, good governance and international cooperation.

Countries: Afghanistan
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