This site is maintained by the Afghanistan Investment and Reconstruction Task Force of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The AIRTF provides information and counseling to companies pursuing business opportunities in Afghanistan. [MORE]
Second Afghanistan International Carpet Fair
October 26 - 28, 2008
From October 26 – October 28, 2008, the U.S. Department of Commerce led the 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 Afghan carpet sector, please call the Afghanistan Investment and Reconstruction Task Force Hotline at (202) 482 – 1812 or inquire at email@example.com.
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.
U.S. – Afghan Business Matchmaking Conference 2007
November 11-13, 2007
The Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Afghanistan International Chamber of Commerce held their 3rd annual U.S. – Afghan Business Matchmaking Conference 2007 at the International Trade Center in the Ronald Reagan Building Conference Center. The event was the largest U.S.-based investment and business conference focused on Afghanistan, and provided individuals and companies the opportunity to network. Key sectors such as Construction & Materials, Mining, Energy & Infrastructure, Agribusiness & Food Processing, and IT Telecommunications workshops were held for companies to explore financing, insurance and government procurement options. Also, Tuesday, November 13th marked the release of the United States Geological Survey's preliminary mineral resources assessment of Afghanistan.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gutierrez Opens Afghanistan International Carpet Fair in Kabul
August 26-28, 2007
Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and Afghanistan's Minister of Commerce and Industry Farhang explore the exhibit space on the opening night of the Afghanistan International Carpet Fair.
The first-ever Afghanistan International Carpet Fair took place in Kabul, Afghanistan from August 26-28, 2007. The three-day event held at the Serena Hotel in downtown Kabul featured over 120 Afghan carpet producers and drew international buyers from the USA, the EU and Asia. The show was recognized as a success with a record $3 million dollars in sales recorded at the end of the third day. The Carpet Fair will help jump-start the Afghan economy with its focus on promoting one of Afghanistan’s premier industries.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Afghan Vice President Massoud and Afghan Commerce Minister Farhang presided over the formal opening ceremonies at the event. The Department of Commerce led a trade mission of eight U.S. carpet companies interested in establishing partnerships with Afghan hand-woven carpet producers.
The Fair featured numerous carpet companies from various regions of Afghanistan and drew buyer delegations from all over the world. Mission delegates had the opportunity to learn about Afghanistan’s carpet industry and build partnerships with local suppliers. The show attracted leading carpet importers, international investors and equipment suppliers.
The Afghanistan International Carpet Fair was a major step forward in the effort to rehabilitate Afghanistan’s carpet industry and promote its unique and exquisitely designed products worldwide. “The industry is expected to grow substantially over the coming years and this event is a truly historic moment in the re-emergence of Afghanistan in the global carpet market,” noted Secretary Gutierrez.
The Fair is expected to become an annual event in Kabul based on its success and the global interest in Afghan vegetable dyed hand-woven carpets.
The New Afghanistan-Tajikistan Bridge Links Trade, Infrastructure, Friendship
August 26, 2007
Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez joins President Rahmon of Tajikistan and President Karzai of Afghanistan in dedicated the newly build Afghanistan-Tajikistan bride at a special ceremony in Nizhny Panj, Tajikistan.
On August 26, 2007, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez joined Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Tajikistan President Enomali Rahmon in Niznhy Panj, Tajikistan at a ceremony to dedicate the Afghanistan-Tajikistan Bridge. This modern two-lane, 2,200-foot bridge over the Pyanj River will enhance commercial, political and infrastructure ties between Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The newly constructed, $37 million bridge was funded by the United States and built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The United States and the European Union are also funding the construction of modern customs and border control facilities, on each side of the bridge, which should be fully open by November 2007.
The bridge opening is a historic event, establishing a modern link over the ancient Silk Road through Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The majority of the Afghan and Tajik peoples share common language, religious and cultural ties, but have been largely separated from modern trade and political ties in the 20 the century while Tajikistan remained under Soviet control. This new bridge will allow these two entrepreneurial peoples to broaden and deepen trade and cultural links as a part Central Asia’s new era of regional economic integration. U.S., Arab, European and other international companies can also take advantage of this new link to expand their regional operations into neighboring countries.
U.S. or international companies interested in learning more about this new bridge and the benefits it could mean to their businesses, can contact the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Afghanistan Investment and Reconstruction Task Force at: 1-202-482-1812 or AfghanInfo@ita.doc.gov.
Commerce Secretary Gutierrez Holds Historic Trilateral Meeting
August 26, 2007
On August 26, Commerce Secretary Gutierrez, Tajik President Enomali Rahmon, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai held a historic U.S.-Tajik-Afghan trilateral meeting, the first such meeting to ever be held. This meeting allowed the three government representatives to discuss critical issues surrounding the opening of the new Afghanistan-Tajikistan bridge, especially with regard to border control facilities and rules facilitating movement of businesspersons and goods. The opening of the Tajikistan-Afghanistan Bridge and the historic trilateral meeting are important hallmarks of Central Asia’s new era of regional economic integration.
Second U.S.- Afghanistan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Meeting
July 11, 2007
On July 11, 2007, the Afghanistan Investment Reconstruction Task Force and other U.S. and Afghan government participated in the second U.S.- Afghanistan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) meeting held at the Office of the United States Trade Representative. The TIFA meeting was co-chaired by Douglas Hartwick, the Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for South and Southwest Asia and Minister Amin Farhang of the Afghan Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The TIFA Council meeting included a discussion of the U.S. Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) proposal announced by President Bush during his visit to the region in March 2006. This initiative, which requires Congressional legislation, would allow duty-free entry into the United States for certain products produced in designated areas of Afghanistan and the border regions of Pakistan. The U.S. and Afghan delegations also reviewed progress in Afghanistan's accession to the World Trade Organization, assistance in utilizing the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), and investment needs in Afghanistan's energy, mining and agriculture sectors. The two delegations also held discussions with representatives of the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce.
Secretary Gutierrez and Afghanistan's Minister of Commerce and Industry Farhang sign Joint Statement on Commercial Cooperation
July 10, 2007
Secretary Gutierrez and the Afghanistan’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr. Farhang signing the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Afghanistan Ministry of Commerce Joint Statement on Commercial Cooperation.
On July 10, 2007, Secretary Gutierrez and Afghanistan’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Farhang signed the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Afghanistan Ministry of Commerce and Industry Joint Statement on Commercial Cooperation. The joint statement (PDF only) provides a framework for the two government agencies to enhance bilateral commercial cooperation. The Joint Statement outlined a work plan, based on Afghanistan’s commercial needs and objectives, to create an environment conducive to economic reform and the development of Afghanistan’s private sector, including the development of private and public organizations that support trade. It includes a common agenda for future commercial cooperation focusing on capacity building, matchmaking, and business promotion. The efforts outlined in the Joint Statement will help Afghanistan advance towards the broader objectives of the U.S. – Afghanistan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement including WTO accession, comprehensive legal reform, and the improvement of intellectual property rights protection and of the overall investment climate.
Secretary Gutierrez and Minister Farhang also announced the creation of a working group, which will be comprised of trade officials from both countries. The group will create a forum for the exchange of information on commercial matters, including commercial and investment opportunities, trade and investment regulations, and intellectual property rights protection and enforcement. The group will implement programs to help Afghanistan further develop its key export sectors– rugs, dried fruits and nuts, and mining.
Second Afghan Rug Delegation Participates in AmericasMart International Area Rug Market Show
January 18, 2007
On January 18, 2007, U.S. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary David Sampson welcomed a delegation of Afghan Rug Producers to the United States for a special showcase on Afghanistan’s economic and cultural revival, called Afghan Impressions, at the AmericasMart International Rug Show, which was held in Atlanta from January 18th through the 22nd.The International Area Rug Market Show is the largest wholesale marketplace of its kind in the world, showcasing a wide variety of consumer goods and attracting more than 548,000 attendees from every U.S. state and 80 different countries.
”The Commerce Department is committed to increasing bilateral business ties and stimulating trade and investment between our two countries, which we believe will lead to significant improvements in the welfare of the Afghan people,” said Deputy Secretary Sampson, at the opening night reception. “A smart step towards this goal is to help Afghanistan export their impressive hand-woven rugs, among the cultural products they are known for around the world.” There were also other dignitaries who spoke at the event, including Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States Mr. Said T. Jawad, Minister Mir Muhammed Amin Farhang of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and Dr. Frederick Hiebert, a renowned archeologist of National Geographic.
The event featured Afghan cultural items like art, artifacts, and antique rugs, as well as Afghan commercial goods including rugs and designer clothing that are now being sold globally, employing thousands of Afghans. This event linked Afghan rug producers with U.S. buyers and potential investors. Participation in the trade show resulted in success for the Afghan delegates. Virtually all of the rugs on display were sold, and many orders were placed with major wholesalers and retailers across the United States.
For more information about the delegation, read the brochure (1.2mb PDF) that profiles each member.