On March 28, 2017, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that the U.S.-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council met on March 27 and 28 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Over the course of the TIFA meeting, the two delegations discussed a wide array of trade and investment related topics, including:
- a review of trade and investment trends in Afghanistan;
- the status of key commercial legislation related to Afghanistan’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO);
- U.S. assistance for the WTO implementation process;
- updates on intellectual property laws and opportunities to cooperate in customs enforcement and intellectual property awareness;
- trade facilitation, including the status of implementation of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) and the International Road Union’s Transportes Internationaux Routiers, or TIR Convention;
- government procurement procedures; ease of doing business concerns such as taxes, business licenses, contract sanctity and enforcement, insolvency, and corruption; and
- challenges, opportunities, and solutions in key sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure, and telecoms.
The U.S. also presented an overview of the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) preferential market access program, Afghanistan’s current GSP utilization, and opportunities for expanded use of this program. Throughout these discussions, the need for inclusive growth – including recognition of the crucial role of women in growing trade and fostering economic growth as well as due regard for the rights of workers – was emphasized.