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Afghan Rugs Leave Lasting Impression at Atlanta Exhibition

January 21 marked the successful end of the highly anticipated four-day exhibition Afghan Impressions: Area Rug Artistry & Inspiration — a celebration of Afghanistan’s resurgent rug heritage and culture at the America’sMart Atlanta International Area Rug Show. America’sMart is the largest wholesale marketplace of its kind in the world, and served as the perfect venue for this first major showcase of Afghan rugs and other cultural products. The exhibition served as the latest development in the ongoing bi-lateral initiative to link Afghan producers with U.S. buyers in support of economic prosperity in Afghanistan.

Afghan Rugs are a proud and important pillar of the Afghan economy, generating exports in excess of $50 million annually and providing a vital source of employment for Afghan families and women. Afghan rugs have received strong brand recognition in world markets for centuries. As authentic handicrafts, they are well positioned to be sold as high-end home furnishings worldwide. The art of Afghan rug weaving is based on traditional expertise and techniques with unique designs often derived from a particular ethnic or regional origin.

Minister of Commerce & Industries Dr. Mir Muhammad Amin Farhang traveled from Afghanistan to attend the exhibition, accompanied by a delegation of ten senior executives of Afghan rug producing companies, as well as representatives of the newly established Export Promotion Center of Afghanistan. This exhibition followed the successful July 2006 visit by a separate Afghan business delegation to the United States where the delegates gained a greater understanding of the international textile industry through meetings with government and business leaders on how Afghan rug makers can market and sell their unique hand-made rugs in the American market.

As a keynote speaker of the opening night reception of the Afghan rug exhibit, Minister Farhang delivered remarks to an audience of over 200 prospective buyers, prominent sector investors, and community and government leaders. “We are proud to see Afghanistan’s esteemed products on display in the U.S. and available to interested buyers. We look forward to continuing our joint efforts to promote such opportunities, allowing the U.S. consumer to witness first-hand the beauty, quality and art of an Afghan-made rug.”

 

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce David Sampson was also on hand to welcome the delegation of Afghan rug producers to the United States. “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. “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.”

Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States Said T. Jawad encouraged the audience to let the art of rug weaving be a conduit to Afghanistan’s rich cultural heritage and political stabilization. “Afghan rugs connect you to thousands of years of history, a group of talented artists halfway around the world, and a reconstruction process that is helping millions of people find security, prosperity, education and new hope,” he said.

The successful event resulted in almost 100 percent sale of all Afghan-made rugs on display and many future orders placed with the delegates by renowned and prominent wholesalers and retailers from across the U.S.

Afghan Impressions: Area Rug Artistry & Inspiration was organized by the Economic, Trade & Investment Department of the Embassy of Afghanistan, in collaboration with the Export Promotion Center of Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of Commerce and America’sMart Atlanta. America’sMart is a leading international market source for a wide variety of consumer goods. It hosts over 30 wholesale and retail markets that annually attract more than 548,000 attendees from every U.S. state and 80 different countries. The event was primarily sponsored by Overstock.com and the Bayat Foundation, with additional support from a number of other Afghan and U.S. companies including Technologists, Inc., Azizi Hotak Group of Companies, Ghazanfar Group, Home Depot, Amadi Carpets, The Louis Berger Group/Black & Veatch Joint Venture, Aspect Energy, Kabul Bank, Kam Air, Ariana Rugs, Caravan Rug Corp. and Harley Davidson. In addition, in-kind sponsorship was provided by Zamani Gallery & Antiques and renowned Kabul-based fashion companies Roya, Zarif Designs, Tarsian & Blinkley, and Zardozi.

For more information about the delegation, visit: http://www.afghancarpet2usa.com

For more information about the Export Promotion Center of Afghanistan (EPCA), visit http://www.epca.org.af

For more information about investment opportunities in Afghanistan and investment news updates, visit: http://www.embassyofafghanistan.org/investing.html

 

     

 

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