EghtesadOnline: Iran exported hand-woven carpets worth $47.91 million during the eight months to Nov. 20, the spokesman of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration said.
“The carpet exports marked a $755,000 decrease compared with the similar period of last year, which appears reasonable given the outbreak of coronavirus and closure of borders,” Rouhollah Latifi was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
As per the budget bill of the next year (March 2021-22), the government will allocate 155.5 billion rials ($609,803) to improve the country’s hand-woven carpet exports through local and international marketing. It has also projected the extension of financial support worth 50 billion-rial ($196,078) to Iran Hand-Woven Rural Central Union.
A total of $50 million worth of hand-woven carpets were exported from Iran in the last fiscal year (March 2019-20), registering a 90% decline compared with the previous year.
In fact, last year was the worst in decades for the Iranian carpet industry, according to the CEO of National Association for Handmade Carpet Producers Cooperatives.
“The decline in exports has many reasons, the main ones being US sanctions as well as the Central Bank of Iran’s edict that requires traders to repatriate foreign currency gained from exports, which significantly increases the risk of trade and discourages exporters,” Abdollah Bahrami was also quoted as saying by Fars News Agency.
The official also said CBI has imposed this regulation on hand-woven carpets, Iran’s strategic non-oil export commodity, hence the officials responsible for making this decision must now be held accountable for all the losses suffered by the industry.
As per the directive devised in the wake of a currency crisis in Iran, the government has obliged all exporters to repatriate their foreign currency yields into the country’s economic cycle.
The move is aimed at boosting strained currency reserves in the short run, under the increasingly harsh conditions created by the US sanctions. But it has understandably received negative feedback from private sector players.
“Up until two decades ago, the country used to earn $1.5 billion from handmade carpet exports, but today we have lost our position as the world’s biggest carpet exporter. It is well known nowadays that when you lose an export market, you can’t easily take it back,” Bahrami said.
The UAE, China, Germany and South American nations were the main customers of Iranian hand-woven carpets last year.
Iran is looking to finalize a plan based on which identification documents will be issued for hand-woven Persian carpets by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2021), the head of Iran National Carper Center said.
“The IDs will not only contain information on the features of rugs, but also their weaver[s] and patterns,” Farahnaz Rafe’ was also quoted as saying by Mizan Online in May.
The patterns weaved on most Iranian rugs usually narrate a folkloric tale, a historic event or illustrate poems by well-known Persian poets.
Rafe’ noted that the project will begin with the most exquisite and luxurious woven carpets.