Soon its sales expanded to Sudan, Syria, Nigeria, South Korea and Afghanistan.
Imported food has increasingly become a feature on Chinese dining tables, and in addition to milk from New Zealand, coconuts from Thailand, cherries from Chile, red wine from France and pine nuts from Afghanistan are in demand.
Kashgar, located in southwestern Xinjiang, has three ports and is located near two ports in neighboring Kezilesu Kirgiz autonomous prefecture, linking countries including Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan.
"In the past, it was extremely difficult for small businesses in Afghanistan to find overseas markets for local products," said Ali Faiz from the Biraro Trading Company.
It is the fourth time Faiz has participated in the expo since his first attendance in 2020 when he brought the handmade wool carpet, a specialty product of Afghanistan.
A key node on the Silk Road Economic Belt, and the starting point for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway, Kashgar borders countries including Pakistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan and has five open land ports, including the Khunjerab Pass and Karasu port, making it a unique location with five ports connecting eight countries.
The amount China spent dedicated to lifting people out of poverty roughly equals the amount the US spent on wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan over the past 20 years, Bertrand said.
China will grant zero-tariff treatment on 98 percent of currently taxable products from 10 less-developed countries starting on Dec 1, 8,786 items in totalThe 10 countries are Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Malawi, Sao Tome and Principe, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council, China's Cabinet, said in an announcement issued on Wednesday.
The Shanghai booth was unveiled with the theme of "Invest Shanghai, Share Future", and received nearly 200 investors from countries and regions such as Spain, Morocco, Canada, Afghanistan, Solomon, Hong Kong and Nagasaki on the first day, many intended on future investment in Shanghai.
"When the American troops retreated, they left a very complicated situation in Afghanistan.
Together with his partners in Afghanistan, Faiz has been importing carpets and other Afghan products into China since he graduated from the University of Science and Technology Beijing in 2019.
"When I came to China in 2014, there were good times in Afghanistan, and people were rebuilding many things, such as roads and bridges damaged in previous wars," he said.
Handicrafts are among Afghanistan's primary industries.
This time he sold around 40 carpets, and managed to send money back to 400 families in Afghanistan.
Faiz registered a company called Biraro, which means "brothers" in one of Afghanistan's main languages, Dari.
"We want to make the relationship between China and Afghanistan like brothers," he said.
"In the Greenland Global Commodity Trading Hub, which is a year-round exhibition and sales center for the CIIE, Faiz set up an Afghanistan exhibition zone.
It displayed not only carpets, but also some jewelry accessories made from lapis lazuli, a blue gemstone found in abundance in Afghanistan.
It saw 3,000 to 5,000 metric tons of Afghan pine nuts exported to China every year, but the trade was briefly interrupted by turmoil in Afghanistan in August, according to Zhao Lijian, spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Now, two families in Afghanistan are working on this order and it will be here next few months. "
Talking about the situation in Afghanistan, Qureshi said there is a dire humanitarian crisis looming which has consequences not only for the people of Afghanistan but also the region and beyond.
The expert said peace in Afghanistan will further enhance the scope of CPEC, and Pakistan and China will be able to get connected to Central Asian countries through it.
Jin runs the international trade company Azimi Brothers Group, exporting a variety of low-priced small commodities from China to Afghanistan.
"It takes about 12 days on the road from Afghanistan to China by freight trains, in a quite fast and convenient way.
He said the hub has helped one Afghan carpet trader receive orders for the products produced by 1,500 households in Afghanistan.
The bilateral trade volume between China and Afghanistan surged 44 percent year-on-year to $310 million during the first half of the year, according to Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng on Thursday.
As of the end of June, investment from China to Afghanistan totaled $430 million, Gao told an online media conference.
China's efforts like hosting the expo are not only conducive to regional trade, but also will help with the world's economic recovery, said Fathulbari Makhdoom, a columnist and analyst in Afghanistan's state-run Kabul Times newspaper.
The CAREC Program, initiated by the Asian Development Bank in 1997 to encourage regional cooperation, covers Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Talking about the improving connectivity with regional countries under the CPEC, Bajwa said that freight from Afghanistan has already started arriving at Gwadar port, and Central Asian countries have also approached the Pakistani commerce ministry to let them move their freight via Gwadar.
The first freight train from Lanzhou, Gansu province, to Afghanistan set off on Wednesday, and is expected to arrive after 15 days.
The train, carrying 39 containers of goods will transfer to automobile transportation at the Kashgar port of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, leave China from the Erkeshtam port of Xinjiang, before returning to railway transport in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, and finally reaching Afghanistan regions such as Hairatan.
Saffron production in Afghanistan has soared to record levels in 2019, with a 22 percent increase compared to last year, Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock said on Wednesday.
"Now, nearly 2,000 kinds of commodities from eight Chinese provinces and cities can take 11 China-Europe train routes originating from Yiwu to countries including Spain, Iran, Afghanistan and Belgium," said Zhu Leijun, an official with Shanghai Civil Engineering Co Ltd of China Railway Group Limited.
The major suppliers of world cashmere raw materials are Mongolia, China, India, Iran, Afghanistan and Russia.
The parties believe that one of the most important factors in ensuring security and stability in the region is the speedy settlement of the situation in neighboring Afghanistan.
In this matter, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev's proposal for the creation of an international logistics hub to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and other countries is promising.
This route will not only expand the logistics capabilities of the Belt and Road, but will also contribute to the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan and the expansion of trade and economic ties.
Starting from Dec 1, China will waive all tariffs on 98 percent of the related imports from Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Malawi, Sao Tome and Principe, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, according to the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council.