The Ministry of Commerce and Industry in coordination with the private sector and Global Commerce Centre is expected to finalize its five-year trade policy for Afghanistan.
President Ashraf Ghani’s advisor on international trade and export, Wolfgang Plasa, said the policy has six sections and Afghanistan's trade policies will be standardized to incorporate domestic and foreign trade.
He said with the implementation of a national policy, Afghanistan will be able to make the most of its World Trade Organization membership opportunities.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has drawn up the Afghanistan National Trade Policy with the help of the EU and the International Trade Center and has consulted with the private sector and donor institutions.
The president’s adviser said the creation and implementation of a clear Afghan trade policy is essential for improving business with neighboring countries.
“Some of Afghanistan’s neighbors, which are WTO members, have not yet adjusted their trade and transit policies that Afghanistan is entitled to,” he said.
The Afghan National Trade Policy aims to increase domestic production and increase the country's exports.
The policy will comprise of six sections that detail domestic and foreign trade issues, map out ways to improve the status of investment, and take into consideration the opportunities available as a World Trade Organization member.
“The national trade policy and national export strategy will function as blueprints for government and the private sector in their joint efforts to help Afghan businesses and enhance competitiveness; I look forward to a fruitful discussion,” said Rajesh Aggarwal, International Trade Center Chief: Trade Facilitation and Policy for Business.
But the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) said government, in developing a national trade policy, must put more effort into tackling the current problems regarding trade in the country.
Officials at the ACCI said the deficit in trade balance and lack of necessary infrastructure for standard trade in the country are major challenges.
“We still have problems, we hope that government will make this policy a platform for solving our problems and more investment opportunities will be provided,” said Atiqullah Nasrat, the Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Meanwhile, a number of businessmen said government should have finalized a trade policy years ago.