Accession to WTO possible this year: Ahady
WASHINGTON (PAN): Expressing his satisfaction with the progress made toward Afghanistan’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Commerce Minister Dr. Anwarul Haq Ahady on Thursday his country could be integrated with the global economy this year.
“The WTO accession process has gone well. We were earlier thinking we would be able to get accession in 2014 or 2015 at the earliest. But now we hope we would be able to complete the process in 2013,” Ahady told Pajhwok Afghan News in an interview after intensive talks with US officials.
He said the United States had been helpful in the process, providing moral support and technical assistance. Afghanistan had requested the Americans to continue helping it prepare for accession, he added.
“We will try for 2013 and we hope that we would be able to complete it. If it does not happen, we will try next year,” Ahady said. The next meeting is scheduled to be held in April-May and the final session in June-July. “If we are able to satisfy WTO members in our bilateral negotiations, then we are there.”
A day earlier, Kabul and Washington held trade talks and evaluated progress on the US-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). Ahady led the Afghan delegation.
Besides WTO accession, the two sides discussed the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) regime, trade promotion efforts, their joint push to improve the efficiency of transit of Afghan goods to export markets, intellectual property rights, agriculture and sector-specific investment challenges.
Both governments agreed to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to memorialise their commitment to empower women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan. They also agreed to develop a Women’s Entrepreneurship Work Plan with specific goals and benchmarks for next year and beyond.
At the meeting, Afghan officials announced the preliminary approval of the mining law by the Cabinet on February 23. The US trade representative called it a positive step toward developing Afghanistan’s mining sector, saying it would hopefully serve as a catalyst for international investment,
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