Shoddy products from China threaten local businesses in Balkh

By Muhammad Qasem

A local shoemaker is pictured August 11 at his store in Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh province. [Courtesy of Nasir Almas]

A local shoemaker is pictured August 11 at his store in Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh province. [Courtesy of Nasir Almas]

MAZAR-E-SHARIF -- Cheap, low-quality products from China are hurting local businesses in Balkh province, say local retailers and factory owners.

Afghans have lost purchasing power over the last two years because of the deteriorating economy, forcing them to buy cheap, substandard products, Khan Mohammad Farhangdost, CEO of the Arghawan Shoe Factory in Mazar-e-Sharif, told Salaam Times.

Meanwhile, Afghan factories and the handicraft industry, which have had millions of afghanis invested in them, have been marginalized, Farhangdost said.

"Chinese low-quality products are sold cheap, while [consumers] do not buy quality products," he said, blaming that competition for killing demand for domestic products.

"We used to export to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and other countries, but now we are facing bankruptcy and we are about to go out of business," he said.

Manufacturing has slowed down over the past two years, Mohammad Hussain Nasim, a manager at the Ahoo Shoe factory in Mazar-e-Sharif, told Salaam Times.

"We used to have 100 employees but had to lay off more than half of them for lack of sales. Now we work with a small number of employees," he said.

"If the import of low-quality goods is not banned, our factories will collapse."

Quality of Chinese goods

Residents of Mazar-e-Sharif have complained about deficient goods imported from China.

Such products do not last long and break down quickly, said Abdul Saboor, 35, a resident of Mazar-e-Sharif.

"I have bought and used Chinese goods many times. They're terrible. They're disposable," he said. "The government must control and monitor the quality of goods that enter our country and our city."

"Eighty percent of the goods in the market are Chinese. They are of poor quality but are cheap. Since [customers] are poor, they have no option but to buy them," he added.

Most shops in the city are full of Chinese goods, Najmuddin, 41, a shopkeeper in Mazar-e-Sharif city, said.

"Most [shoppers], especially the poor, are the main buyers of Chinese products," he said.

"Responsible agencies must monitor the quality of imported goods," Najmuddin said.

Measures to prevent the import of inferior goods

While Afghanistan also imports goods from countries like Iran and Pakistan, Chinese-made products have captured the market with their low prices.

The free market system is not in favor of Afghan businesses right now, according to Mohammad Halim Arian, an economist in Balkh province.

"It is better that Afghanistan return to ... a mixed economic model. Tariffs should be increased so that [consumers] start buying domestic products again," he said.

"In the current situation, a mixed market system is better for Afghanistan, to support both the private sector and state-owned enterprises," Arian said.

A mixed economic system is good for the government, private ownership and manufacturing firms, according to Arian.

Authorities in Balkh province are trying to fight back.

Amir Mohammad Mutaqi, the director of the Balkh Department of Commerce and Industries, told Salaam Times that his office is trying to create an enabling environment and find markets for domestic products and industrialists by holding exhibitions.

"After assessing the quality and quantity of domestic products, we will raise tariffs on goods that have affected domestic products," he said.

"This office supports business owners, manufacturers, craftsmen and investors, and works to address problems they face so that their products can be sold at home and abroad," he said.

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China is not to blame for importing defective products from China. It is our Afghan treacherous traders who do this. Neighbors know that Afghanistan is like a recycling bin; whatever we transfer to it is sold. But in this regard, Afghan national businessmen should be criticized to a large extent as to why they import such low-quality goods into the country. Similarly, the government can also be responsible for taking severe action against those traders who import low-quality goods into the country.


Continue: China has become a hell for Islam and Muslims. In contrast, America and European countries have turned into such areas when Islam spread more and more in the Arab countries in the era of Mohammad (PBUH). The infidels would gather in groups and accept Islam. Some of the groups that want to present Islam to the world through the use of force are at fault. The common sense is that when a person accepts your words willingly and lovingly, why do you need to use force? Muslim preachers can preach freely in America and European countries and bring the religion of Islam to the people. It's Allah's decision, and whoever is worthy of Allah's guidance will surely become a Muslim. Some extremist groups in European countries insult Islam and the Holy Quran, but they are in tiny numbers. The Christians and atheists of European countries are against the extremists who malign Islam. The reason is that Europeans and Americans believe in freedom and do not want their relations with the Islamic world and Muslims to deteriorate. Long story short, let us get back to our main topic. It is difficult for our people to buy expensive goods, forcing them to buy cheap goods. I think relations with American and European countries should be expanded to provide opportunities for their investment and Afghans to produce quality goods within their own country and should try hard to be self-sufficient.


It means that China has not been able to improve the quality of its products in a few decades in the existing system. China is said to be ahead of many countries in polluting the air in the region and the world and spreading new atmospheric gases. When a government is so weak that it cannot improve the quality of its products and continuously creates problems for the people of the region and the world, is it worth it if Afghanistan gets close to it? To make friends with it and allow it to interfere in Afghanistan's financial, economic, and political affairs? I think the answer is no. On the other hand, Salaam Times, BBC, Voice of America, and other international media reports show that China is killing and torturing Muslims in its own country, destroying mosques and Muslim cemeteries. It directly incites people's hatred against fasting and prayer and is involved in other anti-Islamic activities. Based on the programs and plans implemented by the Chinese Communist Party, many rights of Muslims have been restricted, and media reports show that China does not allow Islam to progress in this country. Contrary to the facts above, countries like America, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Norway, and Denmark allow Muslims to worship, and thanks to the democratic and free environment of these countries, Islam is expanding day by day, and many locals are becoming Muslims. America, Great Britain, Germany, and Sweden have gone so far that they have even allowed Muslims to call for pr


If Afghan traders had done it, factories would have been built in every country's desert, and millions of people would be working. We would neither import shoes nor raw materials from China, nor would our shopkeepers praise Pakistani sandals, nor would they sell us Iranian macaroni at the price of meat. Our countrymen are to blame for how much they cry. I don't see only Chinese goods in the market; I also see Pakistani, Iranian, Indian, and Russian... stuff along with it that people use. If Afghan businessmen and investors had what they want now, the best quality factories would be built. It will also make the country's deserts and provide employment opportunities to the youth. Nowadays, every young person who thinks of going to Europe secures more than ten thousand dollars in loans to get to Europe. It has also happened that they sell their houses or fertile lands and leave their homeland here. But how long will this be the case? If Afghan businessmen do a favor and build regular factories in the country and provide standard services, I am sure that no one will leave the country, and these factories will not stop. The factory stops when the products are presented in small quantities to the market. And any factories that have low production will definitely sell their goods at a higher price. The country is built, but if support is provided. Similarly, we can get rid of low-quality goods from foreign countries once we get started and commit ourselves to work.


In my opinion, the problem lies with our businessmen. China is probably not too much to blame. This is China, which sends valuable and good quality materials to different countries of the world at the request of that country, but the useless businessmen of our country, who give orders to Chinese factories for the supply of low quality and cheap materials in large numbers. I think China is not to blame for this. AHO is the best shoe factory. Its poor condition saddens me. The ruling system needs to put this factory back on its feet and support it financially.


Salaam Times newspaper has stopped its reports for several days. Will Salaam Times newspaper continue or stop publishing its reports? Most of the people of Afghanistan read the reports of Salaam Times. Salaam Times is the only newspaper that publishes detailed reports on the current situation in Afghanistan. I personally read the reports of Salaam Times daily and inform myself about the situation in Afghanistan. I got used to reading Salaam Times newspaper reports and I always read Salaam Times' reports. It is hoped that Salaam Times will continue publishing its reports, so that the people of Afghanistan be aware of the current situation in Afghanistan.


Two things are needed to strengthen the country's internal economy and manufacturing companies; One is that the government should impose a tariff on goods imported from abroad, which should be such that only the upper class of society can buy foreign goods. In this way, two benefits will be achieved: A) A large amount of money from the high tariff will go to the government's treasury, with which the same money will be used again for the welfare and services of the poor. B) To be honest, I forgot about the part B. I will write it later if I recall it. Domestic companies should sell their products at a reasonable price, i.e., they should not allow the government to impose a high tariff on foreign goods, and domestic companies immediately raise the costs of their goods to such an extent that they become beyond the reach of the poor and match the price of foreign goods. This means that due to the joint efforts of the people, companies, and the government, domestic production can grow, and the tax collected on foreign goods can benefit the government and public services. Regards


It is exactly like that. By increasing taxes on the foreign goods, foreign imports are being prevented. The good thing is that the government should pay serious attention to these points. If the government does not value its goods this way, there is no other way. We hope that Pakistan's goods and trade in general be stopped and that would be the good news.