EghtesadOnline: Iran exported $336 million worth of hand-woven carpets to about 80 countries during the 10 months to Jan. 20, registering an increase of 21% compared with last year’s corresponding period.
IRNA also reported Chairman of Iran National Carpet Center Hamid Kargar as saying that last year’s (March 2016-17) exports stood at $359 million, up by 23% year-on-year.
He expects this year’s exports to reach $400 million by March 20.
The United States, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Lebanon, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Japan are traditional buyers of Iranian carpets, Financial Tribune reported.
However, new markets, including China, Russia, South Africa and Brazil, have also joined the list of customers in recent years.
International economic sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear energy program dealt a heavy blow to Iran’s carpet industry.
With the removal of sanctions as of early 2016 though, as part of the nuclear deal Iran signed with world powers a year earlier, trade began to normalize.
Exports to the US, the biggest buyers of Iranian handmade carpets before the imposition of sanctions (importing $80 million annually), resumed after five to six years of “zero” shipments to the country.
Iran exported over $97 million worth of handmade carpets to the US alone last year.
The sanctions also hit the Iranian carpet sector by increasing the cost of production, raising export risks and complicating the process of transactions.
The economic recession in some of Iran’s target markets in Europe also affected carpet exports, as these countries stopped buying hand-woven carpets.
Change in lifestyle and taste, emergence of new types of flooring, domestic inflation and high costs of raw materials are also among challenges facing the Iranian hand-woven carpet industry.
Iranian hand-woven carpets have a 30% share in global markets, Kargar said in August.
According to the official, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Nepal and Afghanistan are the main rivals of Iranian carpet exporters.
Yet, Iran remains the biggest carpet exporter in the world.
“More than 3 million square meters of handmade carpets are annually woven in Iran, two-thirds of which are exported and the rest meets domestic demand,” Kargar said, adding that it takes 100-150 million rials ($2,213- 3,320) to create one job in the carpet industry.