Capping a 12-Year Journey, Afghanistan Becomes Newest Member of WTO


July 29, 2016

WASHINGTON – After twelve years of work to institute free market reforms needed to meet the high bar of accession, Afghanistan has become the newest member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo confirmed Afghanistan’s full membership and welcomed it as the 164th member today (July 29).

Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the U.S., Hamdullah Mohib, called the development a significant milestone in Afghanistan’s journey to economic self-sufficiency.

“The significance of this achievement for Afghanistan’s development cannot be overstated,” Ambassador Mohib said. “Our exports will now have access to the markets of the WTO’s 163 countries, and Afghanistan’s voice will be heard in global trade negotiations. We have worked incredibly hard for this privilege, and no one should doubt our resolve to continue the progress.”

The WTO’s Azevêdo called Afghanistan’s membership “an endorsement of the extensive program of domestic reforms Afghanistan has undertaken to accelerate economic growth.”

Under President Ashraf Ghani, the National Unity Government has intensified its systematic reforms to strengthen markets, bring economic and private sector practices into compliance and develop new legal frameworks to provide a favorable environment for trade and investment.

Speaking at a WTO post-accession conference recently, Afghanistan’s Minister of Commerce, Humayoon Rasa, reiterated that Afghanistan is committed to maximizing the benefits of WTO membership by: continuing to modernize its economy; promote growth and stimulate development; secure access for Afghan exports; improve the business environment; and integrate quickly into the rules-based global economy.