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.