KABUL, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- After years of negotiations, Afghanistan which applied for the membership of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2004 finally entered the world trade body and become the 164th member of the entity in late July.
Welcoming the step as a good omen and a unique opportunity towards economic reviving of the war-torn country, Afghan experts believe that being a WTO member, Afghanistan can expand its trade and economic relations with all the other member states.
"Accession into the WTO will be a good opportunity for Afghanistan to increase its competitiveness. It will be an opportunity for the country to get the potentials to become one of the competent members of the organization," economist and university professor Hussain Mahrammi told Xinhua recently.
Getting WTO membership is a milestone for Afghanistan towards expanding its trade relations, the analyst said , adding that the landlocked country availing the opportunity can attract foreign investment, create job opportunity and ultimately alleviate poverty.
However, the economist who is a lecturer to a private university in Kabul cautiously observed that congested roads and poor communication infrastructures could negatively affect trade activities inside Afghanistan and with its trade partners.
The militancy-plagued and landlocked Afghanistan doesn't have standard roads, motorways nor railway linking the capital city Kabul to provinces onward to neighboring states or Europe.
It is obvious that Afghanistan has very weak infrastructures, railroad, terminals and roads and also the private companies are not standard and globally accepted, the analyst argued.
But he also expressed optimism that the accession into WTO would facilitate the Afghan government to find solution for the problems.
"Accession to the WTO is a good opportunity for Afghanistan to increase its competitiveness, but the problem is that being a member of the world entity and signing some bilateral, trilateral or multilateral agreements is very easy, but fulfilling the commitments and also implementing these agreements will be very difficult," the analyst maintained.
Afghan drivers and their trucks are not in a capacity to be accepted internationally and their services are not standard, the analyst said, adding that fear of drug trafficking and human smuggling by Afghan drivers could be another problem for Afghanistan's trade partners, according to analysts.
However, Mahrammi said that Afghan government can manage to overcome the problems by outlining comprehensive strategy to train drivers, send them abroad to improve capacity building and issue them license to operate on international highways.
Depending largely on foreign aid, cash-stripped Afghanistan is among the poorest countries in the world, with huge trade deficit and 36 percent of its 30 million populations living under poverty line.
Afghanistan's export, according to a report of Central Statistic Organization, was registered at 570.50 million U.S. dollars in 2015 against 514.97 U.S. dollars in 2014.
The country's export which includes carpet, rug, dried fruit and medicinal plants, has reportedly totaled more than 600 million U.S. dollars so far this year and the import in the consuming nation has reached to more than 5 billion U.S. dollars.
Afghan economic experts also believe that accession into WTO enables Afghan traders to export more goods to the member states.
"On one word, it is a very unique opportunity for Afghanistan to become part of WTO, to become part of the world economy and to make a contribution to the world trade, otherwise Afghanistan will be isolated as it was, being away from WTO means isolation, and isolation means weak economy, weak people and resources," the well-respected analyst observed.