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Friday, 3 May, 2002, 23:11 GMT 00:11 UK
US restores Afghan trade privileges
Afghan man works on a new waterway in Kabul funded by European Union money
Rebuilding the Afghan economy is a mammoth task
US President George W Bush has given the order to resume normal trading with Afghanistan after a gap of 16 years.

Normal Trade Relations (NTRs) privileges will be applied to imports from Afghanistan when the order takes effect in about a month's time.

The imports will have the same low-tariff access to US markets as goods from all but a handful of countries.

US President George W Bush
Bush wants to normalise relations with Afghanistan

Mr Bush said that by normalising trade the US would help to rebuild the south Asian state's shattered economy.

NTRs were suspended on 31 January 1986 by then-President Ronald Reagan in response to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

The suspension remained in effect through the subsequent civil war and rule by the hardline Islamic Taleban, who were ousted last winter by US-led forces.

"I have determined that it is appropriate to restore NTR treatment to the products of Afghanistan," said Mr Bush on Friday in a message to the US Congress.

"Restoration of NTR treatment will support US efforts to normalise relations with Afghanistan and facilitate increased trade with the United States, which could contribute to economic growth and assist Afghanistan in rebuilding its economy."


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21 Mar 02 | Business
19 Sep 01 | Business
04 Feb 02 | South Asia
03 Feb 02 | South Asia
15 Feb 02 | Country profiles
08 Jan 02 | South Asia
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