Student, M.A (Semester III), Development Economics, South Asian University, New Delhi, India.
N.B: The write up has been submitted as project.
The Government of Afghanistan’s approach to trade is largely liberal with minimal restrictions. Import bans are maintained on only a few products, largely on religious grounds, and there are no seasonal restrictions, quotas, or other non-tariff barriers on imports. As an example; imports of salt are, however, subject to strict restrictions due mainly to the fact that the Government of Afghanistan wishes to protect a state-owned salt mine in Takhar province in northern Afghanistan. Locally produced salt is said to be contaminated with heavy metals and mud and hence there remains a strong preference for Pakistani salt. This restriction by the Government has created a market for smuggled salt.
In official communiqués by international donors and the Government there is much reference to reform in business licensing procedures since 2001 as a major milestone toward supporting private sector development in Afghanistan and facilitating trade with its neighbors. Reportedly, the import license application process, which prior to reform in 2006 involved 42 steps, 58 signatures, and several weeks of processing now requires only three steps, six signatures, and two days to process. The main licit exports out of Afghanistan are dried fruits and nuts, carpets and rugs, and wool. There