Business And Markets

Furniture Industry Needs to Modernize

Furniture Industry Needs to Modernize
Furniture Industry Needs to Modernize

President ‘s advisor and secretary of Free Zones Coordination Council said on Tuesday that the country should invest in developing furniture manufacturing technologies.

“Furniture manufacturing needs to move on from traditional methods of production to more modern ones, to revive the industry and become competitive in this field,” said Ali Akbar Torkan, speaking on the occasion of a one-day conference on decoration and related industries –Deco 2104 -- which was held at the IRIB International Conference Hall on October 14.

Torkan said furniture in Iran is still man-made, showing characteristics of cottage industries.

The industry faces lack of mass production and needs to utilize furniture manufacturing machineries.  To help the industry remain stable, said Torkan, it is necessary to strengthen endogenous development –i.e. relying on one’s own internal capabilities.

However, after experiencing two successive years of negative growth intensified with high inflation that the country has been facing with in recent years, “household’s purchasing power has decreased by about 15 percent,” he added.

“As a result, households tend to spend their money on urgent needs, and avoid buying unnecessary things like furniture,” said the president’s advisor.

The government has established an industrial park for the furniture industry. Also, the furniture and decoration guilds have recently started to offer academic education for those interested in the industry.

Torkan said that foreign investors who want to invest in furniture manufacturing in special and free trade zones will enjoy a number of incentives, including tax exemption and visa free entry. The government is also planning to ease custom laws, labor laws, and monetary and banking laws.

“In order to exit recession, those involved in the industry should plan to open new markets,” said Torkan, adding that entrance into new markets throughout the world requires being adjusted to cutting edge technologies.

 Need for Appropriate Policies

Arslaan Fathipour, head of parliament economic committee who also attended the conference, said the government did not oppose imports, adding that “if domestic producers are not supported, furniture related industries like wood and textile will be ruined.”

Fathipour said that the government needs to support domestic industries by introducing new import tariffs in a bid to enhance the quality and competitiveness of domestic products.  “The policies must not encourage the import and use of other courtiers’ products; still they should encourage domestic manufacturers to observe the standards.”

He argued that the Iranian furniture is able to compete with European products, provided the industry makes use of new technologies that lead to mass production. He also called for deregulation in the industry and said that the parliament is working on plans to ease regulations for businessmen active in the industry.

 Industry Drawbacks

Some experts believe that furniture industry in Iran is facing drawbacks like being unable to compete with furniture imported from other countries, lack of support for the domestic producers, and lack of proper advertising.

Also domestic designers are not involved in the industry, as wood industry’s executers use foreign designers as templates and neglect the skills of the domestic designers.

 Deco Conference

The first significant event witnessed by Iran’s furniture and decoration industry was the “International Conference on World Trade in Furniture, Design, Art and Decoration – DECO 2008” which was held by The Society for Furniture and Decoration.

Since 2013, DEOC conference has been held and promoted by National Council of Furniture and Decoration and related Industries.

The conferences are aimed at developing interaction among various guilds of furniture, decoration and correlated industries.