Afghanistan's WTO accession by 2014 end
KABUL (PAN): Afghanistan could become member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by the end of 2014, a senior official said on Wednesday, insisting the possible integration with the global economy would help encourage foreign investment in the war-devastated country.
"We have been set some specific conditions and there were 60 questions for Afghanistan to accept and become a member of WTO," the deputy minister of commerce and industries, Muzammil Shinwarai, said in Kabul.
"We have our trade laws improved, we are in a good competition to replace local products with those imported to us from neighbouring countries and others in the region," Shinwari told a press conference, insisting Afghanistan was eligible to be granted the accession because it maintained low customs duty on local products and that the country was committed to provide foreign investors with all possible facilities.
He said "although a long process to get the membership remains, WTO members support early accession of the Afghans."
Commerce Minister Dr. Anwarul Haq Ahady has told Pajhwok Afghan News in Washington that Afghanistan 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 said in an interview after intensive talks with US officials in Washington.
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.”
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