Building Factories in Afghanistan

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"Building Factories in Afghanistan"

From a Washington Post article on how Afghans see the war:

“If you look around, you see nothing but jobless people,” said Qari Imam, 30, who sells children’s clothing in the market here. “A lot of people who join the Taliban are jobless, too. If you want to stop the fighting, don’t send us more troops; build us more factories.”

Of course we could build a bunch of factories, but that wouldn’t do any good unless the factories had customers. If I’m reading these slides right then textile products made in Afghanistan are not eligible for duty-free sale in the United States. Changing that rule might encourage some factory-building in Afghanistan. Similarly we see here that some of Afghanistan’s key trade partners have very high tariffs on Afghan agricultural products. Perhaps we could persuade Turkey and India that they don’t need to be charging 50+% taxes on imports of Afghan grapes. India is Afghanistan’s largest export market right now despite those high taxes; changing it would open some additional economic opportunities for people.

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