The EU and the WTO | Nairobi, 17 December 2015
EU welcomes Afghanistan to the World Trade Organization
The Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, the highest WTO decision body, today welcomes the accession of Afghanistan. Once it will have ratified this decision, Afghanistan will become the 164th Member of the WTO to the World Trade Organization.
‘Ahead of the comprehensive Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan which we’ll have the honour to co-host in Brussels next October, the EU is happy to welcome Afghanistan in the WTO family,’ said EU Trade Commissioner Malmström, welcoming the accession.
‘In a context of political and security difficulties, the efforts undertaken by Kabul to pass reforms are particularly commendable. We’re confident that commitments undertaken here by Afghanistan will help to develop a more predictable, transparent and competitive trade regime and, in this way, will improve the livelihood of the population and create new job opportunities.’
Together with Liberia, Afghanistan is one of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to join the WTO at the tenth Ministerial Conference. By providing financial assistance in various trade fields, the EU has been supporting the country throughout its accession process. In the years to come, the EU will remain an important trade partner for Afghanistan, providing support after its accession and ensuring its full integration in global trade.
The EU is one of Afghanistan's main trading partners, accounting for almost 9% of its exports and 12% of its imports. As a Least Developed Country, all Afghanistan’s products (except arms) have duty free and quota free access to the EU market.
Afghanistan submitted its application to join the WTO in November 2004. It will have to ratify the deal by 30 June 2016.
The EU has been traditionally committed to supporting Afghanistan. In this spirit, the EU will co-chair the comprehensive Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan next 5-6 October in Brussels. The Conference, which will gather all main regional and international partners, will be a further opportunity to mobilise the required political and financial support for Afghanistan's reform process.
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