[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 208 (Thursday, October 27, 2011)]
[Pages 66692-66693]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-27864]



International Trade Administration

Executive-Led Trade Mission to Afghanistan

AGENCY: International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Notice.


Mission Description

    The United States Department of Commerce's International Trade 
Administration is organizing a business development trade mission to 
Kabul, Afghanistan in February 2012. This mission will be led by a 
Senior Commerce Department official. Targeted sectors include: 
Construction (including engineering, architecture, transportation and 
logistics, and infrastructure); mining (including equipment, 
technology, and services); agribusiness; and information and 
communications technology. The mission's goal is to help U.S. companies 
explore long-term business opportunities in Afghanistan and enhance 
U.S.--Afghan commercial relations by providing U.S. participants with 
first-hand market information, access to government decision makers as 
well as one-on-one meetings with business contacts, including potential 
agents, distributors, and partners, to position themselves to enter or 
expand their presence in the targeted sectors.

Commercial Setting

    The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) is 
taking steps to develop its market economy and increase both domestic 
and foreign private investment. GIRoA continues to develop legal and 
administrative regulatory frameworks that will lead to a market more 
conducive to trade, investment and private sector development. For 
example, Afghanistan adopted an investment law that allows investments 
to be 100% foreign-owned. Additionally, on October 28, 2010, 
Afghanistan and Pakistan signed the Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade 
Agreement (APTTA), allowing Afghan container trucks to drive through 
Pakistan to the Indian border, and also to port cities such as Karachi.
    After of 30 years of war require reconstruction and development 
efforts are required to grow and stabilize Afghanistan's economy. The 
GIRoA is committed to promoting economic development, increasing 
production and earnings, promoting technology transfer, improving 
national prosperity and advancing Afghans' standard of living in 
partnership with international donor agencies. GIRoA recognizes that 
U.S. services, equipment and technology would enhance development of 
Afghanistan's industrial sector and lead to increased productivity and 
greater technical skills for Afghan citizens. International donors 
continue to support Afghanistan's development; however, long-term 
sustainable growth will take place through private sector development.
    To support Afghanistan's private sector and promote reconstruction 
efforts, GIRoA has identified domestic priority sectors needing 
investment and development in both equipment and services. These 
priority sectors are: Construction and infrastructure, logistics and 
transportation, mining, agribusiness, and information and 
communications technology providers.
    The economy is beginning to move from one based on state owned 
enterprises and the informal economy to a more formal market economy. A 
notable sign of this transition for the U.S. business community is the 
establishment of an American Chamber of Commerce in Kabul in 2010.
    Kabul is the capital of Afghanistan, situated in Kabul Province. 
With a total metropolitan population of 2.6 million, it is also the 
largest city in Afghanistan. It is the commercial center for the 
country, with national Afghan businesses, associations, and GIRoA 
ministries maintaining a presence in Kabul. Afghanistan's GDP per 
capita is approximately $500, and has experienced double digit growth 
in recent years.
    The Commerce Department has supported commercial and private sector 
development in Afghanistan since 2002, and posted a Senior Commercial 
Officer in Kabul in June 2010.

Mission Goals

    The goal of the mission is to provide U.S. participants with first-
hand market information, access to government decision makers and one-
on-one meetings with business contacts, including potential agents, 
distributors, and partners, so that they can position themselves to 
enter the Afghan market or expand their business presence in 
Afghanistan. Thus, the mission seeks to:
     Improve U.S. companies' understanding of commercial 
opportunities in Afghanistan.
     Facilitate business meetings between U.S. and Afghan 
businesses to promote the development of U.S. commercial opportunities 
in Afghanistan.
     Introduce U.S. industry to the Afghan business community 
and government leaders.
     Provide GIRoA policymakers with U.S. industry feedback on 
the direction of its commercial reforms.

Mission Scenario

    The business development mission will take place in Kabul, 
Afghanistan. Participants will meet with Afghan leaders in the public 
and private sector, learn about the market by participating in Embassy 
briefings, and explore additional opportunities at networking 
receptions. Activities will include one-on-one meetings with pre-
screened business prospects. (Note that the regular workweek in 
Afghanistan is Sunday through Thursday.)

Proposed Timetable

    (The State Department will follow RSO procedure in reference to 
security within and around the mission event.)

Day One (weekend) Travel Day--Depart U.S. on evening flight
Day Two Travel Day--Participants arrive in transit city (tbd) and 
overnight in pre-arranged departure from transit city
Day Three Travel Day, Arrive in Kabul, Afghanistan (afternoon) Evening 
Day Four Security Briefing, Market Briefing, One-on-One Business 
Appointments, Reception
Day Five Market Briefing, Industry Sector Briefing, Meetings with 
Government and Industry Officials, One-on-One Business Appointments, 
Day Six One-on-One Business Appointments (optional), Travel Day--Depart 
for the U.S. (evening)
Day Seven Travel Day--Arrive in U.S. (morning)

Participation Requirements

    This business development mission is designed for a minimum of 10 
qualified companies and can accommodate a maximum of 20 participants 
from the companies accepted. All parties interested in participating in 
this business development mission to Kabul, Afghanistan, must submit a 
completed application package for consideration by the U.S. Department 
of Commerce. All applicants will be evaluated on their ability to meet 
certain conditions and to best satisfy the selection criteria as 
outlined below. U.S. companies already doing business in the target 
sectors as

[[Page 66693]]

well as U.S. companies seeking to enter this market for the first time 
are encouraged to apply.
    Fees and Expenses:
    After a company has been selected to participate in the mission, a 
payment to the U.S. Department of Commerce in the form of a 
participation fee is required. The participation fee is $4,800 for a 
single participant for a small- or medium-sized enterprise (SME) \1\ 
and $5,245 for a single participant for a large firm. Participants per 
company will be limited due to space constraints. The fee for each 
additional participant is $1,500. Applicants are encouraged to provide 
a clear business purpose and clarification of role of any additional 
participants proposed to participate in the mission.

    \1\ An SME is defined as a firm with 500 or fewer employees or 
that otherwise qualifies as a small business under SBA regulations. 
See http://www.sba.gov/contractingopportunities/owners/basics/whatismallbusiness/index.html. Parent companies, affiliates, and 
subsidiaries will be considered when determining business size. The 
dual pricing reflects the Commercial Service's user fee schedule 
that became effective May 1, 2008. See http://www.export.gov/newsletter/march2008/initiatives.html.

    Interpretation services for official activities are included in the 
fee. Expenses for travel, lodging, meals, and incidentals will be the 
responsibility of each mission participant. Lodging and meals for each 
participant will cost approximately $150 USD per day.
    Conditions for Participation:
     An applicant must submit a completed and signed mission 
application and supplemental application materials, including 
information on the company's products and/or services, primary market 
objectives, and goals for participation. If the U.S. Department of 
Commerce receives an incomplete application, the Department may reject 
the application, request additional information, or take the lack of 
information into account when evaluating the application.
     Each applicant must also certify that the products and 
services it seeks to export through the mission are either produced in 
the United States, or, if not, marketed under the name of a U.S. firm 
and have at least fifty-one percent U.S. content.
    Selection Criteria for Participation:
    Selection will be based on the following criteria:
     Suitability of the company's products or services to the 
mission goals.
     Applicant's potential for business in Afghanistan.
     Consistency of the applicant's goals and objectives with 
the stated scope of the mission.
    (Additional factors, such as diversity of company, size, type and 
location, may be considered during the selection process)
    Referrals from political organizations and any documents containing 
references to partisan political activities (including political 
contributions) will be removed from an applicant's submission and will 
not be considered during the selection process.

Timeframe for Recruitment and Applications

    Mission recruitment will be conducted in an open and public manner, 
including posting on the U.S. Department of Commerce trade missions 
calendar--http://www.trade.gov/trade-missions/--and other Internet Web 
sites, publication in domestic trade publications and association 
newsletters, direct outreach to the Department's clients and 
distribution lists, publication in the Federal Register, and 
announcements at industry meetings, symposia, conferences, and trade 
    Recruitment for the mission will begin immediately and conclude no 
later than January 3, 2012, by the close of business. Applications 
received after January 3, 2012, will be considered only if space and 
scheduling constraints permit.

Disclaimer, Security, and Transportation

    Business development mission members participate in the mission and 
undertake related travel at their own risk and are advised to obtain 
insurance accordingly. Any question regarding insurance coverage must 
be resolved by the participant. The U.S. Government does not make any 
representations or guarantees as to the safety or security of 
participants. Companies should consult the State Department's travel 
warning for Afghanistan: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_2121.html; http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_2121.html.
    ITA will coordinate with the U.S. Embassy in Kabul to arrange for 
transportation of the mission participants to and from the airport and 
lodging facilities. The primary venue for the mission has security 
measures in place.
    Contact: Ariana Monti Marshall, Afghanistan Reconstruction and 
Investment Task Force--DC, Market Access and Compliance, Tel: (202) 
482-3754, Email: [email protected];trade.gov.

Elnora Moye,
Trade Program Assistant.
[FR Doc. 2011-27864 Filed 10-26-11; 8:45 am]