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Handmade Carpet Exports to Hit $400m

Iran exported $312 million worth of hand-woven carpets in the nine months to Dec. 21, registering a 26% increase YOY
Persian hand-woven carpets are exported to about 80 countries.Persian hand-woven carpets are exported to about 80 countries.

Chairman of Iran National Carpet Center Hamid Kargar expects Iran's exports of hand-woven carpets to reach $400 million by the end of the current fiscal year (March 20).

Last year's (March 2016-17) exports stood at $359 million, indicating a 23.8% rise year-on-year.

Latest statistics released by Trade Promotion Organization show Iran exported $312 million worth of hand-woven carpets during the nine months to Dec. 21, registering a 26% increase YOY, Fars News Agency reported.

Persian hand-woven carpets are exported to about 80 countries.

The United States, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Lebanon, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Japan, according to Kargar, have long been buyers of Iranian carpets.

However, new markets, including China, Russia, South Africa and Brazil, have also joined the list of customers in recent years.

International economic sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear energy program dealt a heavy blow to Iran's carpet industry.

With the removal of sanctions as of early 2016 though, as part of the nuclear deal Iran signed with world powers a year earlier, trade began to normalize.

As such, exports to the US, the biggest buyers of Iranian handmade carpets before the imposition of sanctions (importing $80 million annually), resumed after five to six years of “zero” shipments to the country.

Iran exported over $97 million worth of handmade carpets to the US alone last year.

The sanctions also hit the Iranian carpet by increasing costs of production, raising export risks and complicating the process of transactions.

The economic recession in some of Iran’s target markets in Europe also affected carpet exports in that these countries stopped buying, as hand-woven carpets are considered luxury products.

Change in lifestyle and taste, emergence of new types of flooring, domestic inflation and high costs of raw materials are also among challenges facing the Iranian hand-woven carpet industry.

Iranian hand-woven carpets have a 30% share in global markets, Kargar told us in August.

According to the official, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Nepal and Afghanistan are the main rivals of Iranian carpet exporters.

Yet, Iran remains the biggest carpet exporter in the world.

"More than 3 million square meters of handmade carpets are annually woven in Iran, two-thirds of which are exported and the rest meets domestic demand," Kargar said, adding that it takes 100-150 million rials ($2,213- 3,320) to create one job in the carpet industry.

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