International Trade Figures
After the collapse of the Taliban government in 2001, Afghanistan opened up to international trade. The state has established very few trade barriers on imported products, and tariffs have remained stable in 2016 given weak imports. However, the poor state of the infrastructure, a commercial and legal framework, which remains underdeveloped, and persistent insecurity act as trade barriers.
Afghanistan’s bid to become a member of the WTO has nonetheless been approved by the members of the organization. In addition, the IMF and Afghanistan have been working since 2010 on the implementation of economic policies to improve the country’s trade balance.
With an increase in exports and slower growth in imports (due to weaker domestic demand), the Central Statistical Organization of Afghanistan estimates that the trade deficit rose from -36.7% of GDP in 2015 to -35% of GDP in 2016 (with a trade deficit of 7.151 billion US dollars).
Exports of traditional Afghan products, such as dried fruits, carpets, cotton, cereals and non-alcoholic beverages, have increased since 2013. Nevertheless, the value of imports remains four times higher than exports and without international aid, Afghanistan would have a large trade deficit.
The development of trade with Central Asia and Iran could increase exports, as the opening of a new railway line connecting China to Afghanistan through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The top destinations for Afghan exports are Pakistan (33% of total exports), India (28%) and Turkey (7%), followed by Iran, the UAE and Russia.
While in Afghanistan most consumer goods are imported, world prices and exchange rate movements tend to strongly influence domestic price developments. The main goods imported by Afghanistan are oil, machinery and equipment, food and basic metals. Afghanistan imports consumer goods worth about US $ 11.5 billion annually and Iranian products account for 22% of total imports. On import, the other main partners are Pakistan, China, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
|Indicators of foreign trade||2013||2014||2015||2016||2017|
|Imports of goods (million USD)||8724||7729||5571||9.150||7,700|
|Exports of goods (million USD)||515||571||470||520||780|
|Imports of services (millions of USD)||2.002||1809||1686||1.182||1516|
|Exports of services (millions of USD)||1391||931||799||431||324|
|Imports of goods and services (annual growth in%)||-8||-10||5||26||n / A|
|Exports of goods and services (annual growth in%)||19||-9||2||-0||n / A|
|Trade balance (excluding services) (millions USD)||8199||6393||7036||5970||6307|
|Foreign trade (% of GDP)||56||52||56||56||n / A|
|Imports of goods and services (as% of GDP)||50||46||49||49||n / A|
|Exports of goods and services (as% of GDP)||6||7||7||7||n / A|
Source: WTO – World Trade Organization ; World Bank.
Main Partner Countries
|Principal clients |
(% of exports)
|Main suppliers |
(% of imports)
Main Products Traded
International agreements and customs procedures
International economic cooperation
- Member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (ASEACR)
- Member of the Regional Economic Cooperation of Central Asia (CERAC)
- Member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation (ECO)
- Member of the World Trade Organization (since July 2016)
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