Afghan handmade wool carpets eye CIIE, hoping to improve local livelihood after war
Published: Nov 05, 2021 09:59 PM Updated: Nov 05, 2021 11:13 PM
Ali Faiz, an Afghan handmade carpet exhibitor at CIIE, shows the carpets to the reporter. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Ali Faiz, an Afghan handmade carpet exhibitor at CIIE, shows the carpets to the reporter. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Afghan handmade products, including woolen carpets, are on display at the ongoing Shanghai fair, hoping to win a bigger Chinese market, after the country was ravaged by war.

A Global Times reporter found that three Afghan enterprises have registered for the Fourth China International Import Expo (CIIE). Although the number is low compared with other countries, they still attract much attention, for it is the first time for them to present at the show since the Afghan Taliban took over power. 

"I hope I can bring more handicrafts by the Afghan people to the Chinese market, and help them improve their living conditions," Ali Faiz, a handmade carpet booth owner, told the Global Times on Friday. 

As the second time to attend the fair, Faiz, who now lives in Beijing, brought more than 200 handmade carpets from various regions in Afghanistan. Those carpets were shipped from Kabul to Shanghai via Istanbul, lasting two to three days. 

"Many local people's income relies on this, for it is their only income for a year," he said. 

He said in the past, these carpets were purchased directly by foreign companies and sold under foreign brands. But this time they hope to start the local brands, and also want to use the opportunity of the CIIE to expand their brands.

Faiz is not alone; Global Times was told that the other two booths at the show are jewelry and pine nuts. The latter one has triggered global attention recently, as the first flight carrying 45 tons of Afghan pine nuts this year arrived in Shanghai from Kabul on Sunday, showing China has restarted the air cargo business with Afghanistan.

The Global Times has learned from sources that the Afghan pine nuts were sent to Zhejiang-based food processing plants for stir-frying, and then would be sold across China. 

Salman Raha, an Afghan businessman who lives in Yiwu in East China's Zhejiang Province and has paid attention to the trade, said that he hopes more Chinese people could have a taste of  Afghan pine nuts, which are of good quality. And this would also help increase Afghan people's income.

Media reported that the latest season of imported Afghan pine nuts has been put on shelves nationwide in Hema Fresh, Alibaba's retail marketplace for fresh produce. 

China is the largest market in the world. We hope the door between Afghanistan and China will be more open in the future, Faiz said. 

The Chinese government only allowed one Customs declaration from Afghanistan which is pine nut, but Afghanistan has a lot to offer to the Chinese market such as pecan, pomegranate, rugs and woodcarvings. I hope they can be allowed to enter the Chinese market as soon as possible, he said. 

China-Afghanistan cargo trains have never stopped, trade of agricultural products between the two countries is being restored, and China will continue to listen to the Afghan people to offer support within its ability, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a press conference on Tuesday.