EghtesadOnline: Atotal of 9.2 tons of facemasks worth $206,000 were exported from Iran to nine countries during the first eight months of the current Iranian year (March 20-Nov. 20, 2020), data released by Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture’s Economic Evaluations Department show.
Top export destinations for Iranian facemasks were Oman with 2 tons worth $68,000, Afghanistan with 2 tons worth $59,000, Kuwait with 1 ton worth $33,000 and Armenia with 1 ton worth $24,000.
A total of 132 tons of facemasks worth $16.6 million were imported during the same period.
Purchases were made from China (127 tons worth $16.22 million), the UAE (2 tons worth $210,000), Hong Kong (1 ton worth $121,000) and Afghanistan (2 tons worth $226).
The average price of exported facemasks over the period under review was $22 per kilogram while that of imports was at $126.
According to TCCIM’s Economic Evaluations Department, the value of global facemask market hit $140 billion in 2020.
Field reports show facemasks from China are being smuggled into Iran via ports of entry, particularly through Bandar Genaveh in the southern province of Bushehr and other ports and sold on social media like Telegram channels, Gholamreza Hassanpour Eskandari, a senior member of the oversight board of guild organizations, said in a recent letter to Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Alireza Razm-Hosseini.
“Domestic production of masks is likely to fall and cause investors and workforce to suffer significant losses in the near future if the practice [inbound smuggling] continues at the current levels,” he was quoted as saying by ISNA.
He called on the minister to issue emergency rules to support domestic production and prevent smuggling.
According to the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade, the country has a production capacity of 20 million facemasks per day.
Given the rise in local production and sufficient reserves, the prices of three-layer facemasks, approved by the Food and Drug Organization of Iran, has recently reduced from 13,000 rials (5 cents) to 10,000 rials (4 cents).
The biggest facemask production unit in Southwest Asia, with a production capacity of 3,000 respiratory masks and 100,000 N95 masks per day, was launched in Alborz Province in April 2020.