Afghanistan should be in no rush to join the World Trade Organisation. Rapid accession would have few benefits and could undermine efforts to reduce poverty. Careful planning and negotiation is the only way to avoid onerous commitments that have been forced on other very poor countries and to make the best of the potential benefits that membership of the multilateral system can offer. Given the country’s severe poverty, massive reconstruction effort and ongoing security concerns, all parties involved in the process should promote an appropriate, pro-development accession package for Afghanistan that is in line with its least developed country (LDC) status.
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