The Afghanistan/USA Carpet Conference in Dubai was a success. In my last post, I told you about how I traveled there to share the news about Sheep to Shop. Sheep to Shop is an initiative led by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration to help Afghan carpet traders build a stable and sustainable future by exporting directly to U.S. rug importers. The concept was well received.
For me, this conference has been the culmination of 5 years of work trying to help Afghan carpet maker get orders from U.S. buyers to help revive their businesses. It was heartwarming to have so many American and European companies come to Dubai, and then to witness them buy as many rugs as they did—$1,730,970 in total orders— was just incredible. It will give a immediate boost to the carpet businesses of Northern Afghanistan and link them to new customers for years to come.
Alex Zahir and I presented data on market opportunities and led open discussions concerning purchasing rugs direct from Afghanistan, rather than producers sending them to Pakistan for shipment to the U.S. and other customers. The 20 buyer representatives, which included the Macy’s rug buyers, were impressed with the event and the opportunity presented.
Now, I am in Mazar-e Sharif, following up with the Afghan traders and local industry stakeholders to further solidify the commitments made at the conference. I will keep you posted.