Carpet exhibitor at CIIE finds a way out for Afghan weavers

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If I try to sell a carpet here, then families who make a living from handicrafts in Afghanistan will get the income for several months of work,” Afghan exhibitor Azizi told China Economic Net. This is his first time attending the China International Import Expo (CIIE). He said that many people know that Afghanistan is ravaged by war, but the sanctions imposed by Western countries represented by the United States on the Afghan economy are more painful and far-reaching, which is one of the reasons why he brought the Afghan carpet to CIIE alone.

“I would like to thank CIIE organizers for providing booths to Afghanistan. I had a great time visiting the Expo as a buyer in 2019, and I am delighted to be invited to join the Expo this year.” He recalled that as early as 2019, he had noticed and believed that the Chinese market was promising. However, he was somewhat uncertain about doing business in China at the time, so he had been doing research and preparation since then. He planned to set up a sales company in Shanghai in 2021 and has already established an online sales platform.

The carpets he brought this time are hand-woven from wool and silk, and dyed with natural colors extracted from plants. “People think that handmade carpets are expensive, but it takes months to make a hand-knitting carpet, and even after 100 years, its colors are still vibrant,” Azizi said.

“We also want to export our products to more countries,” said Azizi, referring to Afghan carpet importers. “Before, Afghan carpets are mainly sold to Europe(Nyheter), now the western countries impose sanctions on Afghanistan through asset freeze and other means, which has hit the industry hard.” Nevertheless, he remains optimistic, “Hopefully, the long night will pass soon. We need to expand our sales channels, and the good thing is that Afghanistan and China have close relations, and the two governments encourage and try to promote bilateral trade.”

In July, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Amir Khan Muttaqi, acting foreign minister of the Afghan interim government. Wang stressed that China will continue to urge the United States and its Western allies to lift unreasonable sanctions against Afghanistan and earnestly fulfill their primary responsibility for Afghanistan’s economic reconstruction.

China is ready to push for dovetailing the Belt and Road Initiative with Afghanistan’s national development strategies, support the extension of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan and share China’s development opportunities. China will grant zero tariff treatment to 98% of the tariff lines from Afghanistan to China and is willing to import more high quality products and specialties from Afghanistan, the senior Chinese official said.

Azizi said that tariff concessions had already been granted. “We now enjoy special preferences on carpets imported from Afghanistan to China. It is very convenient and safe to transport by air from Kabul, Afghanistan to Xinjiang and then to Shanghai. In the future, we look forward to CPEC extended to Afghanistan.”