Fighting the Taliban by Lowering Taxes
Matthew Yglesias suggests that one thing that could aid the fight in Afghanistan would be to lower tariffs against Afghan goods and motivate our allies to do the same.
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.
One of his commenters adds that the United States could probably benefit from lowering tariffs on textiles from Pakistan, as well (which are ridiculously high). I agree with this sentiment and I think that there is a lot of benefit from dropping our short-sighted agricultural tariffs and agricultural subsidies. The benefits would just be economic–they’d improve relations and security, too.