The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan took its 1st steps towards creation of a National Export Strategy (NES) that will set out its trade priorities. About 100 representatives from the public and private sector are meeting in these days in Kabul to explore challenges and opportunities for improving Afghanistan’s trade performance. The National Export Strategy should detail a series of investments needed to unleash export growth and job creation in sectors with high trade potential, detailed five-year action plan, and an integrated implementation management framework. Organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoCI) and the International Trade Centre (ITC), the first consultation on Afghanistan’s National Export Strategy provided an opportunity for participants to share their views> Afghanistan’s Minister of Commerce and Industry said “The first NES consultation will capture a comprehensive picture of the current business environment in Afghanistan. This will assist in the development of an effective export strategy, ultimately allowing Afghanistan to expand export earnings, enhance trade competitiveness and to achieve greater economic diversification.” ITC Executive Director said “Entry into the WTO will make predictable and open trade possible for Afghanistan. The National Export Strategy is a good next step in making trade happen. The Strategy will provide a guiding compass for a series of strategic actions including investments, value-chain development, institutional support mechanisms, and improvement of Afghanistan’s regulatory environment.” The Ambassador of the EU to Afghanistan, said “Moving forward the private sector development agenda must be a priority for Afghanistan if it wants to shift from aid dependency towards sustainable growth and job creation. The National Export Strategy will guide Afghanistan’s efforts to realize the potential of its exports sector as an important driver for economic growth. Urgent credible reforms and strong government engagement with the private sector are required to support the enabling environment for business in areas such as licensing – cutting red tape, access to finance, energy and markets, transport, connectivity and agricultural productivity, as well as a fair taxation system that allows SMEs to prosper.” The CEO of the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), said “The development of a National Export Strategy for Afghanistan is a high priority item that is foreseen to stimulate the growth of the private sector in addition to providing a high degree of mobility and stability. This is especially relevant in the context of a landlocked environment, with a volatile economy that has stagnated and a trade balance that involves 95-5 imports-exports ratio. It is a much appreciated and timely endeavor that is fully supported by the ACCI.” A second participatory consultation to be held in May 2017 will analyse priority sectors and support functions such as access to finance which will form the core of the National Export Strategy.
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