EghtesadOnline: A total of $40 million worth of apparel were exported from Iran during the first seven months of the current Iranian year (March 20-Oct. 21, 2020), according to the deputy head of Textile and Apparel Production and Exports Union.
“This is while over the past few years, our total annual apparel exports hovered between $50 million and $60 million. We estimate that by the end of the [fiscal] year [March 20], our exports will see a 30% rise compared with last year,” Majid Nami was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Based on data released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, Iraq, Kuwait, Australia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Germany, South Korea, Japan, the UAE, the UK, Venezuela, Ivory Coast, Italy, Turkey, Canada, Qatar, Oman, Nigeria, Switzerland, Yemen, Georgia, Spain and Denmark were the main export destinations of Iranian apparel.
The official noted that the export figure pertains to official and legal exports only and the figures for suitcase trade of apparel, which is estimated to be considerable, is not included.
Nami said merchants from neighboring countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Central Asian countries, have set up business in different cities of Iran, pay Iranian producers of clothing items in rials and then take the consignments out of the country in either legal or illegal ways, adding that this kind of export has little profit for Iranian businesses.
Apparel production in Iran is currently thriving, thanks to import restrictions and the rising prices of foreign brands.
"The share of foreign products has dramatically decreased in the Iranian apparel market due to the ban on imports and rise in foreign currency rates. As a result, domestic producers have gained more motivation to utilize this opportunity and improve the quality of their products," Morteza Mirmohammadi, an official with the Ministry of Industries, Mining, and Trade, has been quoted as saying.
“Foreign brands, mainly Turkish ones, are being replaced with quality Iranian products. This achievement [growth in output and production of quality apparel] has been realized following the import of up-to-date machinery and technology,” the official said, adding that despite sanctions, good investments have been made in the apparel industry lately.
Hassan Nilforoushzadeh, secretary-general of Iran Textile Industry Association, told Fars News Agency that 98% of Iran’s textile industry are owned by the private sector, and if it wasn’t so, it would have been banished altogether.
“Our main plight is the huge amount of contraband items that enters the country. It seems that even the police can’t stop smuggling. Other handicaps include problems related to money transactions, foreign exchange and transportation caused by reimposed US sanctions,” he said.
Saeed Jalali Qadiri, the head of Textile and Apparel Production and Exports Union, recently told Mizan Online that, at present, close to $1.8 billion worth of contraband apparel enter Iran annually.
Nilforoushzadeh added that the textile industry has created close to 600,000 direct jobs.
The purchasing power of Iranians have declined in recent years leading to lower consumption of apparel among other commodities. The increase in production of domestic producers could reverse this trend, provided manufacturers boost the quality and diversity of their products.