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AMBASSADOR JAWAD AND U.S. SECRETARY OF COMMERCE SHOW SUPPORT FOR AFGHAN RUG INDUSTRY

07/21/2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 21, 2006

MEDIA INQUIRIES:
Joshua Gross, Director of Media Relations
(202) 483-6410 ext. 8002
gross@embassyofafghanistan.org

AMBASSADOR JAWAD AND U.S. SECRETARY OF COMMERCE SHOW SUPPORT FOR AFGHAN RUG INDUSTRY

WASHINGTON - Afghanistan’s rug industry was featured during a reception hosted by the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, D.C. on July 19. The event concluded the first official joint U.S.-Afghan government delegation of Afghan rug & carpet producers.

H.E. Ambassador Said T. Jawad welcomed the guests stating, “I am honored to be here with you this afternoon to showcase an Afghan product that is a symbol of our country’s culture, history and tradition.” Remarks were also given by U.S. Department of Commerce’s Assistant Secretary of Market Access & Compliance and Chair of the Afghanistan Investment & Reconstruction Task Force David Bohigian. Following these speakers, the leader of the delegation Mr. Sayed Javed Andish introduced his delegates and thanked the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Embassy’s Economic, Trade & Investment Department for providing opportunities to link directly to rug importers in the United States.

The Embassy was especially honored by the presence of U.S. Secretary of Commerce the Honorable Carlos M. Gutierrez, who spoke warmly of the Afghan people whom he met while traveling in Afghanistan earlier this year. He restated the United States’ long-term commitment to the economic revitalization of Afghanistan, and encouraged the delegates to have an enormously successful trip. Rug importers and collectors, U.S. government officials, members of the Washington diplomatic community and other friends of Afghanistan joined in welcoming the aspiring group of Afghan businessmen.

The delegation arrived in the U.S. earlier this week to attend the renowned Atlanta International Area Rug Market where they were able to interact with carpet and rug producers from all over the world. During their visit, the delegates attended meetings with government and business leaders on how Afghan rug makers can market and sell their unique hand-made rugs in the U.S. market. This visit includes stops in Atlanta, GA, Washington, D.C., Newark, NJ and New York, NY.

Two-way trade between the United States and Afghanistan reached $330 million last year, a 43 percent increase over the previous year. Afghan rugs are allowed access to the American market duty free, and hand woven rugs were designated as duty free in June 2005. Investment opportunities exist in Carpets and Textiles as well as a variety of other sectors in Afghanistan. Please visit www.afghanistan.business-gateways.com for further information.

Afghan Delegation Website: Afghan Rugs 2 USA: www.afghancarpet2usa.com
Afghan Investment and Reconstruction Taskforce: www.export.gov/afghanistan

The Economic, Trade & Investment Department of the Embassy of Afghanistan under the leadership of the Ministry of Commerce promotes economic and private sector development in Afghanistan. The Department serves as an information resource for companies interested in doing business in Afghanistan, while advocating for policy issues important to Afghanistan before U.S. government and multilateral institutions in Washington.

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