Domestic Economy

Growing Calls to Promote Iran-Made Quality Goods

Growing Calls to Promote Iran-Made Quality GoodsGrowing Calls to Promote Iran-Made Quality Goods

Lately, Iranians have been strongly urged by the authorities to opt for domestically manufactured products instead of foreign goods in a bid to support the national economy.

In a meeting with the people of Azerbaijan Province in February, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei explicitly called on the Iranians to "avoid buying foreign products out of patriotism, particularly the products that have domestic equivalents."

"When you use foreign products, you are actually helping foreign companies, workers and manufactures to increase their products. This will harm domestic production," the Leader added.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting last week, President Hassan Rouhani echoed the same remarks and said: "Using Iranian-made goods should be institutionalized in the society and the list of imported goods needs to be reconsidered."

The Iranian consumers' preference for foreign products has long been a matter of discussion among experts. While some believe it is driven by economic factors such as affordability and durability of foreign products, others point out social and psychological factors such as a strong brand image and the desire among Iranians to flaunt expensive foreign tags.

Whatever maybe the reason, it is evident that the Iranian industries need to improve not just in terms of quality, but also in packaging, advertising, distribution, and customer support in order to compete with their foreign counterparts.

"Iranian consumers do not trust domestic industries, because over time they have realized that the domestic industries have no option but to produce low-quality goods to maintain a reasonable profit margin and survive in the competitive market," a member of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines, Farhad Fozouni, wrote for Tejarat-e Farda weekly magazine.

According to Fozouni, the key to building consumer confidence is to increase efficiency in domestic industries through prudent management and strategic planning which would in turn obviate the need for using low quality raw material to reduce costs.

> Economic Nationalism

In addition to improving quality and efficiency in domestic industries, experts also suggest propagating a sense of economic nationalism and patriotism among consumers to encourage them to buy domestic products in a bid to support the national economy and generate more employment.

"The media and relevant government authorities should outline effective policies to instill in people a sense of support for national products," suggested Meysam Mousai, the head of the Islamic Economics Scientific Association of Iran, IRNA reported.

> Government Measures

In a move aimed at supporting domestic industries, a legislation proposed by the ministry of industry, mine, and trade and passed by the cabinet in May last year, bans all governmental bodies and institutions that use public funds from purchasing foreign goods that are produced domestically.   

To this effect, a list of 183 commodities was prepared by the ministry of industry, mine and trade, including items such as radio and television transmitters, train and subway wagons, light aircrafts, port and train station equipments, and certain industrial machinery. Last week, the industry ministry announced the revised list of banned commodities for governmental organizations, which includes 192 foreign goods.

Also deputy minister of industry, mine and trade, Mojtaba Khosrowtaj recently announced the ministry's plans to launch a commodity subsidy program in the form of loans paid to Iranian household for buying domestic goods. According to Khosrowtaj, the program aims at increasing demand for domestic products and boosting production.

> Supporting Non-Oil Exports

Since it assumed office in 2013, the Rouhani administration has put it on the top of its agenda to support production and export of non-oil commodities, as part of a broader policy to move away from over dependence on revenues from crude oil exports.

First Vice President, Eshaq Jahangiri on Saturday warned against excessive import of foreign products after the sanctions against Iran [imposed by the West over Iran's nuclear program] are lifted, calling on all relevant executive bodies to prepare for the post-sanctions period.

Addressing a meeting of High Council of Non-Oil Export, Jahangiri called on the relevant authorities to prepare the ground for foreign investment and production in Iran, IRNA reported on Saturday.

He called on the minister of economic affairs and finance, minister of industry, mine and trade and the head of Management and Planning Organization to draft a clear and comprehensive guideline regarding export incentives in a bid to support non-oil exports.