Las Vegas Rug Show

 

Afghan Inspirations, Rug Renaissance, Coveted Traditions

 

MGM Grand, Las Vegas, 01/29/08

 

Good evening all,

 

Minister Farhang, Assistant Secretary Hernandez, friends and officials of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Afghan delegates, members of the Afghan Community in Las Vegas, Ladies and gentlemen,

 

Please allow me to extend my sincere gratitude to the staff of the Afghanistan Investment and Reconstruction Task Force at the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as the Economic, Trade & Investment Department and Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan, who join hands with us this evening to open this exhibit and to welcome the third official trade mission of rug producers and exporters from Afghanistan. Thank you Secretary Hernandez for being with us. We are grateful for Secretary Gutierrez’s leadership and the support his colleagues at the Department of Commerce have extended to our Afghan private sector. We regret that Secretary Gutierrez could not be with us tonight.

 

We are very proud to be here with you to showcase a vibrant symbol of our  country’s rich culture, long history, legendary art and meticulous craftsmanship. Afghan rugs are known around the world for their magnificent beauty and designs. Today, we proudly celebrate reaching a new marketing milestone for our magnificent rugs.

 

When you purchase an Afghan rug you are not only making a great investment on a piece of art with a long and rich history that you will keep for generations. You are also connecting with talented female artists who are weaving, knot by knot, a new life of peace and prosperity for themselves and for Afghanistan.You are helping with the reconstruction process in Afghanistan that is about providing education, health care and security for millions of boys and girls.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Afghan rugs have left a very lasting impression wherever they are displayed. Weaving carpets is an ancient tradition in Afghanistan. Some of the oldest, or possibly the oldest carpet found in the world, was woven in the Bactrian Empire in Northern Afghanistan about 2500 years ago, in 400 century BC.

 

Today, Afghan rugs have gained duty-free access to the United States market. This exhibition is the second significant step in linking Afghan producers with US buyers, as part of the ongoing US-Afghan bilateral initiative. Last year our rug producers participated in the America’sMart Atlanta International Area Rug show. 

 

This exhibition also showcases the U.S. Government’s continuing commitment to Afghanistan’s economic development. Afghans are grateful for your friendship and support.

 

Afghan rugs have gained a well-deserved niche in the international furnishing market due to its distinct color and style. However, a large number of Afghan rugs are traded through our neighboring countries due to the lack of adequate finishing facilities in Afghanistan.  Afghanistan and the US are taking steps to assist with improving designs, financing finishing facilities and the marketing of these precious products.

 

Fortunately, Afghanistan has re-entered the global marketplace and is quickly becoming reintegrated with the private sector as the driver. There are great opportunities in investing in Afghanistan. The biggest risk is sitting on the fence and letting these opportunities be grabbed by others.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, despite our challenges, I assure you that Afghanistan is back in business and that the present economy is growing at a double-digit rate. Thank you for joining us today and I hope you take advantage of this rare opportunity to meet some of our best producers and explore the opportunities to invest in, and establish long-term joint ventures and linkages with Afghanistan’s rug and textile industry.

Thank you.