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Citation Information

Type Conference Paper - 24th World Congress of Political Science
Title The Role of Value Formation Processes and Empirical Experiences in Shaping Trade Liberalization Preferences: The Case of Afghanistan
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
City Poznań
Country/State Poland
URL http://paperroom.ipsa.org/papers/paper_58772.pdf
Afghanistan will gain full WTO membership in 2016, in a craze of positivism and excitement by some Government Ministries, the international community and the few international companies operating in the country. Among the lonely voices to stand out, the Afghan Industrialist Association worries that a decrease in tariffs will lead to an "unhealthy economic and business competition". Such cases are not new – all BRICS experienced similar debates ahead of their WTO accession – but Afghanistan stands out for the extraordinary paucity of information: there is no credible econometric analysis promoted by the Government or an independent party outlining the consequences of WTO accession. With 80% of its GDP commanded by public spending and 70% of that public spending depending upon Official Development Aid (ODA), Afghanistan has little national productive capacity that can benefit from overseas market access. The national aggregate demand is largely commanded by hard currency brought in by the international military and civilian presence, and their progressive withdrawal does not bode well for efficiency gains on imports. Many observers wonder what the Afghan excitement is exactly based upon. This paper takes the Afghan case as a departing point to discuss the socialization of ideas leading stakeholders and observers to lean towards sympathy or adversity for trade liberalization agreements despite the absence of hard econometric data.

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