Economy, Business And Markets

Cheap Export of Decorative Stones Criticized

Cheap Export of Decorative Stones CriticizedCheap Export of Decorative Stones Criticized

Despite being home to a wide range of decorative stones, Iran holds a meager share of the global market, due partly to poor marketing, unavailability of well-known brands and export barriers, secretary of the Association of Iranian Producers and Exporters of Mineral Products, Kamran Vakil, told Eghtesad-News.

Noting that decorative stones such as marble are regarded as a construction material in Iran, Vakili said these stones are categorized as luxury products in other countries.

Blaming economic instability and the ever-changing export laws and regulations for the unimpressive level of exports, Vakili said investing in the production of mineral products in Iran is associated with multiple risks.

Iran exported decorative stones to Italy, Spain, Turkey and China during the last Iranian year (ended March 20), said the official, noting that some of these countries buy Iranian stones, including marble and onyx, and then reexport them after processing at higher prices.

Iran produces about 14 million tons of natural stones every year but only a small portion is exported to 60 countries, mainly China, Belarus and Japan. Iran’s export of $200 million worth of decorative stones per year represents an insignificant share in the global market.    

Vakili believes the low volume of export results from inefficient marketing and unavailability of new production technologies. Restrictions on money transactions between Iran and other countries also add to the woes of exporters.

Last year, the parliament imposed a 70% tariff on export of unprocessed decorative stones to curb the export of raw minerals. But it later rescinded the legislation amid strong protests by manufacturers.