Second Afghanistan International Carpet Fair
October 26 - 28, 2008
From October 26 – October 28, 2008, the U.S. Department of Commerce led a U.S. private sector delegation to the 2nd Afghanistan International Carpet Fair (AICF) in Kabul, Afghanistan at the Babur Gardens. The four U.S. firms who participated in the U.S. Department of Commerce trade mission to the AICF had the opportunity establish business relationships with more than 50 carpet traders who exhibited at the AICF. During the visit Commerce staff networked with and interviewed several carpet producers and associations to learn about their production operations and current challenges. Deputy Chief of Mission, Christopher Dell spoke at the opening of event, among other dignitaries like the Minister of Commerce, Dr. Farhang. The event was organized and sponsored by the Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan (EPAA), Afghanistan Small Medium Enterprise Development (USAID Project), and Standard Charter Bank.
The Carpet Fair featured both contemporary and antique rugs (including unique collector’s rugs) produced in various Afghan Provinces. The show featured over 50 booths representing carpet vendors from all Afghan provinces and towns. All rugs on displayed were available for immediate sale.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gutierrez’s priorities for Afghanistan include helping the country develop three sectors in which it has a comparative advantage: rugs, dried fruits and nuts, and mining. In this regard, the Afghanistan International Carpet Fair provides a unique opportunity for Afghanistan to take a leap forward in its efforts to rehabilitate its rug sector and promote its unique and exquisitely designed rugs to the rest of the world. The first Afghanistan International Carpet Fair was held August 26-28, 2007. Due to its resounding success and public demand, the carpet fair remained open for two additional days. Five day total sales were estimated at as much as $5 million. U.S. buyers purchased rugs valued at up to $1.6 million at the event.
The U.S. Department of Commerce and the Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan, a subsidiary of the Afghan Ministry of Commerce and Industry, have collaborated on efforts to help promote Afghan carpets in U.S. and international markets through trade events and capacity building training. Since the U.S. became engaged in this sector, Afghan exports of carpets to the U.S. have increased by over 100% from $1.5m in 2004 to $3.2m in 2007. Signifying the importance of rugs in its economy, the Government of Afghanistan has declared carpets to be the national export symbol of Afghanistan.
For additional information for U.S. companies on the Afghan carpet sector, please call the Afghanistan Investment and Reconstruction Task Force Hotline at (202) 482 – 1812 or inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4th Annual U.S.-Afghan Business Matchmaking Conference
October 21, 2008
Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) hosted its 4th Annual U.S.-Afghan Business Matchmaking Conference on October 21, 2008 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, D.C. Conference attendees discussed business opportunities with Afghan Ministers and others covering key sectors of the new Afghan economy such as, Energy, Power and Mineral Development, Urban and Infrastructure Development, Agriculture and Food Processing; to hear U.S. Government and Business experts discuss economic / development programs and private sector investment and partnering opportunities; and met with a delegation of Afghan and Dubai based businesspersons working in the region to develop business and investment relationships. An Informational Trade Fair held in conjunction with the conference facilitated the exchange of information on businesses working in Afghanistan or providing goods and services to Afghanistan. Conference registration includes many networking extras. For more information on the event or future events, please refer to the AACC website: www.a-acc.org or call AACC offices 703-442-5005.
Afghanistan: Artistic Interpretations at the New York International Carpet Show
September 16 – 19, 2008
The U.S. Department of Commerce, in conjunction with the Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan, hosted a booth entitled Afghanistan: Artistic Interpretations at the New York International Carpet Show. The booth displayed Afghan carpets produced in numerous provinces and represented major Afghan carpet associations. The booth also provided brochures that highlighted the carpet manufacturers’ works on display. Owing to its unique, distinctive rugs, the booth served to educate attendees on Afghanistan’s historic rug industry as well as highlight other fashion sectors, including contemporary fashion items, jewelry, and accessories.
The New York International Carpet Show occured during “Market Week” in Manhattan. Attendees came from a wide audience, including international traders, interior designers, retailers, and home furnishing buyers from the North American, South American, and European regions.
The Commerce Department proudly attended and co-hosted this third carpet fair featuring Afghan rugs.
Successful Completion of the Rug Design Training and Successful Business Practices Seminar
June 18, 2008-The Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan is celebrating last week’s successful completion of the Rug Design Training and Successful Business Practices Seminar. Approximately 120 Afghan weavers, textile designers, marketing managers and businessmen attended the seminar, which took place at the Serena Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan. The seminar provided participants capacity building training on U.S. rug market consumer tastes and trends, and business practices and marketing strategy to enhance their ability to reach U.S. and global markets.
The Afghan Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industry, the President of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the President of the Afghan Carpet Exporters Guild presided over the ceremonies. Dr. Frank Petrella, former Dean of Academic Affairs and Acting Provost at the American University of Afghanistan, conducted the one day seminar. The event was facilitated by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Afghanistan Investment and Reconstruction Task Force (AIRTF). The AIRTF supports the development of Afghanistan's carpet sector through capacity building along with marketing and developing other components of its carpet industry. To learn more, please contact the AIRTF at (202) 482 -1812.
AISA Named World’s Second Best Investment Promotion Agency, Wins Award
The Afghan government is celebrating after the announcement that the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA) won the world’s second best investment promotion agency award for 2008. The announcement was made at the World Investment Conference, held in Accra, Ghana on April 18, 2008.
The award, given jointly with the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) recognized and commended AISA as an agency that excelled in “developing and implementing licensing and investment promotion policies, post-investment support services and policy advocacy.” The Board of Investment of Mauritius was named the world’s best investment promotion agency.
The announcement came as senior policy makers, investors and investment promotion agencies from over 190 countries met at the commencement of the UNCTAD’s 12th Ministerial Conference. The event drew together global investment leaders to discuss best practices in promoting investment for development, the conference’s theme. Prior to the close of the conference, UNCTAD XVII adopted a comprehensive list of conclusions and a political statement to further promote international efforts to utilize gains from globalization to support developing regions. UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi hailed the Accra Accord for embodying the shared commitment of the developing and developed world to “work toward making globalization a powerful means to achieve poverty eradication.”
For additional information, please visit the AISA website.
Afghan Inspirations: Rug Renaissance, Coveted Traditions
January 28 – February 1, 2008
A delegation of 9 Afghan rug businesses exhibited their products at this winter’s Las Vegas Market at the World Center Market in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Afghan delegation participated in a special exhibit at the show called “Afghan Inspirations: Rug Renaissance, Coveted Traditions,” created by the Afghanistan Investment and Reconstruction Task Force in conjunction with the Afghan Ministry of Commerce’s Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan, the Afghan Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Along with rugs, the exhibit featured artifacts, fashion designs, and other cultural items from Afghanistan. On January 28, the showcase held a gala that was open to general buyers at the Las Vegas Market and the Afghan community of California and Las Vegas. The gala was inaugurated by brief remarks from Shawn Samson, Managing Partner and Co-founder of the Las Vegas Market’s World Market Center; Afghan Ambassador Jawad; Minister Farhang; Assistant Secretary Hernandez, and other dignitaries. A buffet dinner of traditional Afghan Food was served, and there was a live Afghan musical performance.
The trade show was a networking opportunity for the Afghan delegation to meet directly with U.S. wholesale buyers and interior designers. Prior to the trade show, the delegation also participated in a 1-day training that covered Western market trends in the carpet industry, air freight shipping, and U.S. customs regulations. This delegation marked the third-ever Afghan rug business delegation visit to the U.S., and the Las Vegas Market was the second U.S. trade show an Afghan rug delegation has participated in.
U.S. companies interested in finding more about sourcing Afghan carpets for resale, can contact the Afghanistan Investment and Reconstruction Task Force at: AfghanInfo@mail.doc.gov or (202) 482-1812.
Assistant Secretary Hernandez with Afghan Delegate Mr. Homayoun, Afghan Ambassador Jawad, Minister Farhang, and Mr. Samson at the gala (Left to right)
David Sitton of Cargo Logistics gives a training presentation on importing to the U.S. for the Afghan delegates on January 27
Afghanistan Awarded the Best Modern Carpet Design at Domotex Hannover
January 12 – 15, 2008
Mr. Haji Nabi, the owner of Zinnat Rugs won the Best Modern Carpet Design award under 100 Euros per square meter at Domotex Hannover in January 2008. It was noted to be “A harmonious rug with great colors and strong commercial potential” by judges.
The Export Promotion Agency in conjunction with BMZ/GTZ and the Afghanistan Small Medium Enterprise development supported a delegation of 28 Afghan carpet exporters to attend the Domotex Hannover show, January 12 – 15, 2008. EPAA news story.