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Today, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Central and South Asia Mara Burr spoke at the Afghan Trusted Network Leadership Roundtable, which focused on positive developments in trade and investment between the United States and Afghanistan. The roundtable, entitled “Building Bridges with the Afghan People: Engagement for Prosperity in the New Afghanistan,” was held as part of the USAID Global Diaspora Forum.
Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Mara Burr addresses Afghan Trusted Network Leadership
Roundtable on U.S.-Afghanistan trade and investment.
Burr spoke on trade and investment cooperation between the United States and Afghanistan, and on Afghanistan’s work to accede to the World Trade Organization (WTO) by the end of 2014. Membership in the WTO, a significant accomplishment, will bring Afghanistan into full participation in the multilateral trade system as a country that is committed to rules-based international trade. Accession to the WTO would signal to both foreign and domestic investors that Afghanistan has made significant improvements to its legal and regulatory system, and will strive to create a positive environment for trade and investment.
Burr also touched on the progress that the two countries made at the last United States – Afghanistan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council meeting held on February 27, 2013 in Washington, D.C. At that meeting, Afghanistan and the United States agreed to pursue a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Joint Efforts to Empower Women Entrepreneurs. Burr told the audience that the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is hoping to complete that MOU by early June. The U.S.-Afghanistan TIFA was signed in 2004, and has helped to improve government to government and government to business discussions, and has served as an important mechanism for bilateral dialogue on trade and investment. In closing, Burr reiterated the long-term commitment of the United States to the people of Afghanistan to ensure that economic development in the country is sustainable.