Afghanistan officially joins WTO

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KABUL: Afghanistan officially became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) after Meshrano Jirga or Upper House of the Parliament approved the laws required as preconditions for membership, officials said on Friday.

Afghanistan has become the 164th member of the organization.

“The WTO gives us the opportunity to bring reforms in the trade sector, it is also very important for business and transit,” Siamuden Pasarly, Director for Public Relations at the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries, told DW.

The WTO membership would help Afghanistan strengthen its rule of law, establish transparency and lay the foundation for healthy economic growth, the public relations director said.

“We have many trade-related problems with our neighboring countries. Pakistan and Uzbekistan are both WTO members. Now, for example, we can put pressure on Pakistan to stop illegal activities regarding trade and transit through Afghanistan,” Pasarly added.

Deputy Minister for Trade Mozammil Shinwari told Sputnik that major challenge for Afghanistan as a new WTO member is to transform its commitments into real policies.

“Being member of WTO brings challenges as well as benefits. After acceding to WTO, the biggest challenge we face is how to transform the commitments made during accession to implementable policies,” Shinwari said.

The deputy minister said that implementation of the undertaken commitments includes harmonizing national policies with the obligations as well as informing other WTO members about the process thus complying with the transparency requirements.

The United States welcomed Afghanistan’s membership to the World Trade Organization, terming it as a step forward for a better economy for the country.

Speaking at a press conference, the US State Department spokesman, John Kirby said, “We welcome the finalization of Liberia and Afghanistan’s terms of accession to the WTO on the 16th and 17th (December), in Nairobi, Kenya.

He said that for Afghanistan, accession to the WTO is a major step forward for the Afghan government’s efforts to unlock the potential of the Afghan economy. -AT

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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