Afghanistan Trade and Revenue Project (ATAR)
Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world, but its economy is headed in the right direction. To continue its progress, Afghanistan must attract private investment, create jobs, and increase regional trade. Responding to these aims, the USAID Afghanistan Trade and Revenue Project (ATAR) developed economic policies and regulations that focused on three areas: trade policy liberalization, regional trade integration, and customs reform. In 2016, the project supported Afghanistan to become the 164th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Since then, the project has focused on export-led growth initiatives, working with local exporters to identify and reach new markets and streamlining processes by creating a one-stop shop at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
ATAR is the latest effort in a series of initiatives dedicated to strengthening Afghanistan’s economy through trade and policy reform. From 2009 to 2013, the Trade and Accession Facilitation for Afghanistan (TAFA I and II) project, focused on increasing investment, exports, and market-based employment. TAFA I and II also ran a comprehensive public outreach program to increase understanding of a liberalized trade framework.
TAFA laid the foundation for accession to the WTO. TAFA provided training to 5,698 Afghans working in government ministries and streamlined customs procedures at 10 inland clearance depots across the country. TAFA I and II also supported the Afghanistan Customs Department to use a loan to upgrade its cargo-handling equipment and processes.