AFGHANISTAN’S PROGRESS IN JOINING THE WTO

Most of the world already belongs to the WTO, and Afghanistan is well on its way to joining the global trading organization. To accede, Afghanistan must, like members, reflect WTO rules in its laws, eliminate WTO inconsistencies, and make binding commitments that facilitate trade.

WTO accession is a lengthy and complex journey that can last several years, but the process drives broad legal and institutional reforms that improve the business environment and the competitiveness of Afghanistan. The process of WTO accession is as important as accession itself – creating an environment conducive to trade, building capacity in public and private institutions, and encouraging partnership between private and public sectors.

Recognizing the importance of WTO accession for Afghanistan and in acknowledgement of the progress made by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA), WTO members support a fast-tracked accession for Afghanistan. GIRoA is currently in the third stage of the accession process, engaging in negotiations with WTO members. GIRoA expects that Afghanistan will become a member of the WTO by the end of 2014.

 

Four Steps to Join the WTO

  1. Initial Step

Submit application to WTO General Council

  1. Information Gathering
  • Submit Memorandum on Foreign Trade Regime
  • Respond to questions from member countries; this is ongoing till the end of the accession process
  • Establish Working Party
  1. Negotiations
  • Multilateral negotiations for compliance with WTO legal regime
  • Bilateral negotiations on goods and services
  • Plurilateral negotiations on issues like agriculture support, export subsidies and technical barriers to trade
  1. Final
  • Accession package sent to General Council or Ministerial Conference for final approval
  • Protocol of Accession is signed