Sitting in his carpet store and waiting for customers, businessman Hajji Sakhi whispered joyfully that China could be a lucrative market for Afghan-made carpets if more businessmen can export the precious hand-woven product to the neighboring country.
“I have heard that China has shown interest in enhancing trade relations with Afghanistan and it is our desire that our products could be showcased at exhibitions held in China and we could put on display a new product,” said Sakhi from north Afghanistan’s Jawzjan Province.
Afghan-made carpets have been put on display at several sessions of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in recent years to attract clients. However, Afghan businesspeople want China to invite more Afghan entrepreneurs to put more products at the international fair.
“China’s interest to import carpets from Afghanistan is a good omen for boosting interactions and I am hopeful that China could facilitate the ways to increase our exports,” Hajji Abdul Sattar, another businessman and the head of Jawzjan’s Carpet Producing Union, told Xinhua recently.
Sattar also suggested that carpet exports to China would increase if the customs offices of Afghanistan and China eased the tariff.
“China is a big country, and provision of facilities like air corridor and land corridor would help to increase exports,” Sattar said.
“We hope that Chinese traders can come to Afghanistan, visit the companies producing carpets, give their orders, invite Afghan traders to the exhibitions and provide facilities to bolster exports,” the aged businessman suggested.
Echoing a similar notion, carpet weaver Mohammad Azhar in talks with Xinhua expressed gratitude to China for displaying Afghan carpets at the exhibitions, saying: “We are thankful to China for putting our carpets at the international exhibition and we hope to see our carpets at any exhibition.”
“We have exported at least 10,000 square meters of carpets and rugs so far this year and a major part has been exported to China, and carpet exports to China have increased,” carpet seller and deputy to a carpet exporting company Sayed Suliman told Xinhua.
Zia Rasouli, a female trainer of a carpet-weaving center, has also backed showcasing Afghan carpets at the just-concluded sixth CIIE in Shanghai as an opportunity to introduce Afghan carpets to clients from across the world.
“It is a very good opportunity for us to introduce our carpets at the exhibition and export them to other countries, which is good for our country’s economy as well as the economy of our people,” Rasouli said.
Providing training to 50 people in a carpet training center, she said: “We could open more carpet weaving centers if we receive support from any institutions because women are more active and like to work.”