Economy, Domestic Economy

Carpet Industry Needs Oversight

Carpet Industry Needs OversightCarpet Industry Needs Oversight

Establishing a special organization to assist and oversee the domestic sale and export of hand-woven carpets has been suggested by the head of Isfahan's Handmade Carpet Manufacturers Association.

On the sidelines of a recent exhibition of hand-woven carpets in the tourist city in central Iran, Bagher Seirafian said "given the scope of responsibilities of the ministry of industry, mine and trade, it has been unable to devote the necessary time and attention to the handmade carpet industry."

Seirafian suggested the need for an independent, efficient and effective carpet institution to oversee the overall affairs of fine carpet weavers/manufacturers along with the sale and export of this important export item the Persian economic daily Donya-Eghtesad reported.

He also emphasized the need for financial incentives and easier tax regimes for carpet manufacturers. "According to law, every stage of carpet manufacturing includes 5% value added tax which once accumulated increases the cost of hand-woven carpets to unreasonable levels, making it extremely difficult for domestic customers to afford the hand-woven rugs."

Isfahan governor, Rasoul Zargarpour underlined the role of the carpet industry in Iran in creating jobs, attracting tourists and generating hard currency through exports. He referred to the role and participation of more than 140 manufacturers from the provinces in the exhibition as indicative of "great economic potential" of the handmade carpet industry.

The official recommended regular interaction between the government and private sector on ways to help augment the status of fine carpet production and export, while asserting the need for better conditions and infrastructure at Isfahan's main airport for exporting carpets.

  Burden Sharing

Head of Isfahan's International Exhibition Center, Rasoul Mohaghaghian called for financial support from the government to all those wanting to participate in international carpet exhibitions. He said the high costs of stalls at global expositions are "almost always borne by the carpet manufacturers," which they normally cannot afford.

Iran's carpet exports in the first seven months of Iranian calendar year (started March 21) rose by 14 percent in value and 16% in volume compared to the same period last year.  Based on official customs data, over 3,100 tons of hand-woven carpets were exported in the said period worth $166 million.

Iran is a leading exporter of hand-woven carpets as Persian rugs are highly sought for their intricate design and skilled craftsmanship. Iran exports its high quality and rather expensive rugs to more than 100 countries. An estimated 1.2 million people in Iran are active in the hand-made carpet industry, which caters to both the domestic and export market. The country annually produces about 5 million square meters of a variety of woolen, silk and other carpets of which 80 percent is exported. The United States, Europe (especially Germany and Italy), China, Brazil, South and Central Africa, along with neighboring countries are major markets for hand-woven Persian carpets. However, India and China have recently emerged as big competitors to the Persian rug and have been regularly trying to expand their international market share with cheaper quality and copied designs.