Foreign Trade, FDI, and Capital Flows Study

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    Afghanistan Diagnostics Trade Integration Study
    (Washington, DC, 2012-11) World Bank
    Trade enables countries to import ideas and technologies, realize comparative advantages and economies of scale, and foster competition and innovation, which in turn increases productivity and achieves higher sustainable employment and economic growth. Countries open to international trade tend to provide more opportunities to their people, and grow faster. Afghanistan could derive far more benefit from its international trade opportunities than it does at present. This Diagnostics Trade Integration Study (DTIS) report is intended to identify concrete policy actions in three areas of endeavor: lowering the transaction costs of trade, increasing Afghanistan's competitiveness in world markets, and providing an analytical foundation for Afghanistan's national trade strategy. The study examines how to do this, looking not only at trade performance and policy, but also at three sectors with great export potential: agriculture, gemstones and carpets, as well as the investment climate, customs as a driver of trade facilitation, and on promoting infrastructure services. All five chapters in this report provide a detailed and comprehensive analysis of trade issues intended to reduce the transaction costs of trade. Growth in Afghanistan has been strong and volatile because of its heavy reliance on agriculture. Now it faces a transition: prospects of a drawdown of international military forces and a decline in civilian aid by 2014. Security issues and political instability could undermine Afghanistan's Transition. Such threats could harm not only economic growth, but deterioration would repel private-sector investment.
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    Trade and Regional Cooperation between Afghanistan and its Neighbors
    (Washington, DC, 2004-02-18) World Bank
    The report envisages significant, medium-term benefits for Afghanistan and its neighbors from trade policy liberalization, from country-by-country reforms in trade logistics, and, especially within Afghanistan, from road rehabilitation and building a commercially-oriented enabling environment for trade, private investment and entrepreneurial development. The growth of regional and transit trade will boost private investment and growth in the short-to-medium term and help to realize the long-term vision for Afghanistan as a country moving toward middle-income status, based on sustainable development of its resources. Recommendations focused on Afghanistan include calls for priority action, with broad support from the international community, aimed at: improving security throughout the country both for persons and property; completing the main road rehabilitation, extending telephone and other telecommunication systems and ensuring that after reconstruction maintenance is undertaken to sustain roads in good condition; streamlining of border crossing procedures; reestablishing formal financial and insurance systems including development of a effective clearance and settlement system; implementing a national customs and transit system; eliminating restrictions on direct transit; removing internal checking-posts and en-route inspections; and increasing domestic trucking competition. To foster a strong, enabling environment for domestic and foreign trade, the study also advocates a set of immediate and short-term measures, including implementing a functioning payments system for international and domestic transfers though the formal banking system; making transit bonds and transport insurance available to shippers; redefining the role of the Afghan Ministry of Commerce to emphasize its mandate in trade and investment promotion relative to it role in trade regulation; supporting a larger role, distinct from that of government, for a private chamber of commerce to assist in export promotion; designing and implementing major capacity-building programs to develop skills and professionalism in banking, insurance and customs; and encouraging truckers and freight forwarders to establish national private industry organizations and to affiliate with international organizations.