ROZs Still On the Table as U.S. Looks to Boost Trade with Afghanistan
The latest talks under the U.S.-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement were held Dec. 12 in Afghanistan. According to a blog post from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. officials said there that as part of efforts to promote private sector engagement and “create legitimate, productive enterprises for the Afghan people” the Obama administration will work with Congress to enact legislation providing preferential duty treatment to certain goods produced in reconstruction opportunity zones that would be created along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. U.S. officials made a similar pledge in TIFA talks with Pakistan in September, but no such legislation has been seriously considered in Congress for at least two years.
USTR adds that officials discussed a wide range of other investment climate issues during this week’s talks, including supporting Afghanistan’s transition to a sustainable economy, market access, the Generalized System of Preferences, trade promotion efforts, intellectual property rights, sector-specific investment challenges and the vision for a New Silk Road, an international network of economic and transit connections that would link and integrate Afghanistan with its neighbors and regional and global economies. Officials also agreed to continue collaboration on support for Afghan exhibitors to participate in major U.S. trade shows, set up a working group to assist women-owned enterprises in all areas of Afghanistan, and promote awareness of GSP.